Commencing July 1, 2018, a California DUI law will go into effect making it illegal for drivers with a blood alcohol content level of .04 percent or higher to operate a vehicle that carries a passenger for hire.
“Passenger for hire” is a legal definition meaning “a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.”(46 USCS § 2101).
Existing California drunk driving law already prohibits drivers of commercial vehicles from driving with a blood alcohol level of .04 percent. (For regular drivers, the legal limit is .08 percent.) The DMV notes:
“Commercial drivers caught with a BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle can expect the following license suspension periods:
First Offense: 1 year
Second & Subsequent Offenses (in a 10-year period): Permanently
Note that these suspension periods are in addition to any fines, jail time, and DUI programs the CA DMV and court system impose.”
Uber and Lyft drivers will soon be held to the same level of accountability as a commercial truck driver.
Drunk Driving Still a Problem in Sacramento
According to California’s Office of Traffic Safety, there were 425 drunk driving accident victims in 2015 (the most recent year of data available). To put that in perspective, Sacramento is the second worst city of similar size for drinking and driving accidents in the state.
Roseville had only 20 DUI injury accidents in 2015, one of the best rates among cities of comparable size.
Why Are There Different Rules for Commercial Drivers?
Those who operate a vehicle for profit have an added responsibility to drive safely. Many more people can be injured in a chartered bus accident than a regular car, for example. And given the enormous size and weight of a big rig, commercial truck accidents can be especially traumatic.
When you hire an Uber or Lyft driver, you are trusting your safety to a stranger. It’s important that the driver be sober and focussed on the road. To that end, it would be a good idea not to engage in any conversation that might distract him or her and lead to a distracted driving accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial truck driving accident, the success of your case depends on working with an attorney who is knowledgable about the ways that commercial injury cases differ from a regular car accident case. It is also important to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about the newest California DUI laws. Contact our offices for a free consultation.