Truck Driver Drinking While OFF DUTY

Topic 7146 | Page 1

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Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm looking at attending school to be a professional truck driver, have already read most of the information on here and it definitely has made me want to pursue this even more. Thank you to Brett, and everyone who contributes to help people with very litle prior knowledge about the business understand what goes on out on the road. I was wondering, i know that BAC for operating a CMV is .04 and ive heard the whole 4 hours after bottle to throttle, but i havent been able to see any information regarding having a beer or 2 while in your sleeper (since I've heard of people getting a dui sleeping in their vehicle because they had keys in their pocket). Obviously it isnt the smartest thing to do. And also, are you still able to get a dui if you would decide to have a few beers in a restaurant, and go back to truck to sleep (such as in a reset, when there is no way you would be operating your truck anyways). Just interested if anybody knows anything on circumstances like this, in case i decide to have a few beers with dinner while i do a reset, I'd hate to have to worry about jeopardizing a career, and fines/jail time.

Thank you.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

If you're on a 34 hour RESET - and you want to get smashed on day one, and maybe 1/2-way through day two - yeah cool - just DON'T DO IT IN THE TRUCK.

Now - do I KNOW GUYS that have had a couple of "cold frosty's" on their 10 hour break - sure I do.

But you have to balance the "risk versus reward". And if you're sitting in the truck - idling - and drinking - that is the SAME AS DRIVING (regardless of what line you're logging on). If the truck is running - and you are drinking - it's likely a DUI , even standing still.

So - if you were to stop for your 10 - and go into a restaurant and have a couple with dinner, that's probably going to work out OK - conversely, grabbing a 6-pack and sitting in your sleeper sucking them down. Maybe not-so-ok.

Remember - ANY DETECTABLE ALCOHOL - is an OOS - even if it's not a DUI. Most truckers won't even use an alcohol-based mouthwash.

Now - say you're on a 34 - and you're allowed to bobtail to a Walmart, while staying in a hotel (for example). If you're UNDER A LOAD - you can't log line 5 (Personal Use - even though most companies don't allow this for company drivers anyway - lease or O/O - it's your fuel/dime), if you're dragging an empty and not under dispatch - you aren't "under a load" - but still, most guys that do store runs on hometime or 34, drop their box and bobtail. You can grab some alcohol and transport it to your hotel (unopened). But you better make sure your company allows you to log on line 5 - and you better be ON LINE 5 when you do it (or better yet - TAKE A CAB).

Personally - I would not dream of having an open container in my CMV - EVER - or operating it with even a minute possibility that there was any alcohol in my system. OTOH - I'm a recovering alcoholic with many years of sobriety - so I'm at very little risk of having to worry about any alcohol-type violations.

Rick

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Every company policy states that if you drink on the road you will be terminated. Also, if any alcohol is found in your truck by your company you will be terminated.

If the DOT finds alcohol or bottles in your truck then you'll be a perfect candidate for those "Want to get away?" commercials.

If any of those three instances occur, your career is over without a doubt.

Companies, and the DOT, do not mess around with alcohol. There is no wiggle room.

You also have to worry about random testing by your company.

Honestly man, trucking and a beer don't mix. You have to choose one or the other, alcohol is just about the easiest way to get out of the industry.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Sun King's Comment
member avatar

I know every company has there own rules, so you would want to ask that question to your recruiter(s). What seems to be standard is no alcohol 24 hours before you drive. FMCA rules state no alcohol in the cab when you are on duty. Off duty you can transport it, but I wouldn't suggest it.

It was hard to get through the regulations, but I found this tidbit online. I would dig through section §392.5 for verification:

Subpart A - General

§392.5 Alcohol prohibition.

Question 3: Does the prohibition against carrying alcoholic beverages in §392.5 apply to a driver who uses a company vehicle, for personal reasons, while off-duty?

Guidance: No. For example, an owner-operator using his/her own vehicle in an off-duty status, or a driver using a company truck or tractor for transportation to a motel, restaurant, or home, would normally be outside the scope of this section.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Michael V.'s Comment
member avatar

0 alcohol in a big truck, not open, not sealed 0 as in none allowed. more like 12 hours and .4 is career over, any in your system is an out of service event and you will probably get fired. on a reset u still have to follow your company police and no drinking is allowed at any time at any orientation or driving school. it is just a bad mix, i would advise only on home time and never on the road.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

If you're on a 34 hour RESET - and you want to get smashed on day one, and maybe 1/2-way through day two - yeah cool - just DON'T DO IT IN THE TRUCK.

Now - do I KNOW GUYS that have had a couple of "cold frosty's" on their 10 hour break - sure I do.

But you have to balance the "risk versus reward". And if you're sitting in the truck - idling - and drinking - that is the SAME AS DRIVING (regardless of what line you're logging on). If the truck is running - and you are drinking - it's likely a DUI , even standing still.

So - if you were to stop for your 10 - and go into a restaurant and have a couple with dinner, that's probably going to work out OK - conversely, grabbing a 6-pack and sitting in your sleeper sucking them down. Maybe not-so-ok.

Remember - ANY DETECTABLE ALCOHOL - is an OOS - even if it's not a DUI. Most truckers won't even use an alcohol-based mouthwash.

Now - say you're on a 34 - and you're allowed to bobtail to a Walmart, while staying in a hotel (for example). If you're UNDER A LOAD - you can't log line 5 (Personal Use - even though most companies don't allow this for company drivers anyway - lease or O/O - it's your fuel/dime), if you're dragging an empty and not under dispatch - you aren't "under a load" - but still, most guys that do store runs on hometime or 34, drop their box and bobtail. You can grab some alcohol and transport it to your hotel (unopened). But you better make sure your company allows you to log on line 5 - and you better be ON LINE 5 when you do it (or better yet - TAKE A CAB).

Personally - I would not dream of having an open container in my CMV - EVER - or operating it with even a minute possibility that there was any alcohol in my system. OTOH - I'm a recovering alcoholic with many years of sobriety - so I'm at very little risk of having to worry about any alcohol-type violations.

Rick

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Jeff L.'s Comment
member avatar

I personally would not, I used to bar tend at one time and had a truck driver regular who would drink and then sleep in his cab out in a the plaza parking lot. He was smart by being out of the bar before ten at night and would keep a cool head. A few times in the morning or two A.M. the cops would meet me in the parking lot if I had taken the keys from someone(totally illegal) and put them in the passenger seat of their car to sleep it off and I would put their keys on the dash at about three in the morning in most cases unless they were smashed(would come on night shift with first shift problems). Anyway they would ask about him and his truck and I would be able to tell them the truth , he quit drinking before eight and has been out there all night , you can check if you want but he more than likely is sober. My point is these cops who clean up messes that would make war veterans vomit would love to get them a drunk truck driver sitting in his cab like a deer hunter wants a twelve point buck. Bar tending was sobering enough , but a tractor trailer and drinking sounds like a seriously bad combination. I also would be careful not just because of the law but also others in the surrounding area that I would have to be aware of. I love good beer, man I love a good beer, I have a twelve pack Stella Artois out in the Garage I bought two weeks ago and I hope to have one before my dad drinks them. I love wine with meals and celebrations . I love good Whiskey and even more a glass of Scotch clean with an ice cube floating in it. But more than any of those I love my sense of berring . The rules say any amount of liquor in a drivers system shuts them down for at least twenty- four hours. I do not know about Truck stops and there rules, but most parking lots do not allow drinking, along with state parks and rest stops. I would feel safe with no more than two or at the most three drinks within the framework of an hour while eating a proper meal(at a restaurant) and then retiring to the cab to go to sleep knowing that there will be no trace of alcohol in my system when I start up again. Now my question is even then would it be better to stay sober so in case lot lizards, crooks or any unwanteds are sneaking around?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Marcus R.'s Comment
member avatar

I was talking with some gentlemen the other day about trucking. One stated that he can never drive again because he was off-duty, putting in a new radio, keys in the ignition to test the radio here and there, but he had a beer sitting outside his truck. He was immediately terminated from the company and black flagged. I suggest just focus on your job and the price of your future and cargo. If you had $500,000 worth of merchandise or more and a vehicle $250,000 would you want someone driving it or delivering it to clients with alcohol in their system or found in vehicle if you get stopped for a random inspection?

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

We had a driver last year take a 34 at a terminal. He pulled out a lawn chair, BBQ'd for everybody all while sitting in a lawnchair outside his truck with a 6 pack. 2 days later he was done with his 34 and was routed up and terminated. Another drivers truck was seen outside of a strip club. He was routed to the terminal and terminated............See a pattern here?

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

wtf-2.gifwtf.gifwtf-2.gif note to self don't park in the parking lot of a strip club lol

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Not to you: On I80 x223 in OH there is a TA with a strip club right across the street or I69 x309A in IN also one across the street. Ijs park across the street. I heard the have great wings at strip clubssmile.gif

wtf-2.gifwtf.gifwtf-2.gif note to self don't park in the parking lot of a strip club lol

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