Breathalyzer/blood test options

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by maxwelltie, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. maxwelltie

    maxwelltie Medium Load Member

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    This came up last night as several of us sat around discussing nothing of any value. No one could definitively answer the question, so here it is:
    When stopped by a LEO or DOT inspector and asked to give a breathalyzer test, can a CDL holder opt for a blood test instead, just as a class C license holder can?
    I would think yes, however a couple drivers insisted a CDL holder doesn't have that option. You either submit to the beathalyzer or it's considered a refused test.
     
    Baack Thanks this.
  2. truckerx1

    truckerx1 Light Load Member

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    Just as with the motoring public an officer of the law can't just, at random ask for a BAC. There has to be probable cause. If i understand the regulation a breathalyzer is your only option as it is less intrusive to your person.

    We still have to get to probable cause though, or an accident where either you were cited or there was a fatality, injury that had to be treated away from the seen and you were cited, or the officer has reason to believe you are under the influence ie. Oder of alcohol and or your erratic behavior or an direct observation of your driving.
     
  3. jtrnr1951

    jtrnr1951 Road Train Member

    Are we SURE about that ?????
     
  4. Injun

    Injun Road Train Member

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    I have heard opinions that DOT bears require PC to ask for a BAC or drug test on us. I have also heard that's not the case, that any DOT officer at any time may request a random test for no reason other than you're the 15th truck he or she decided to inspect. If such test is refused by the CDL holder, it will go on the DAC as a refused substance test.

    Perhaps we should refer this question to DieselBear....he would probably know this.

    Keep in mind, though, that even if they are allowed to test us at random, most of the states don't want to spend the money and therefore tell their officers to wait until they have PC.

    Regarding the original question, I do not believe the option is available to CDL holders to insist on a blood test. Refuse and it will be called a refusal.

    We should be happy we don't live in Germany. If you are stopped by Polizei in Germany and asked for a breath test, you will give it whether you want to or not. And they will ensure you do by whatever means they determine is required.
     
  5. jtrnr1951

    jtrnr1951 Road Train Member

    My CDL has a statement on the bottom,

    I'll check it out......
     
  6. Allow Me.

    Allow Me. Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Whats the diff? Breath or blood or urine, if you're "dirty", you're busted, right?
     
  7. dieselbear

    dieselbear Road Train Member

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    If I stop a CMV and I detect the presence of alcohol, first you will be put through a battery of tests commonly referred to as Standarized Field Sobriety (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn and one leg stand). These are done to see if you have psycophysical impairment and are unable to drive a vehicle safely. If you do poorly, you are arrested and taken to the troop/barrack/sheriff's office or police department and offered a breath test like anyone else in the motoring public. If you refuse the breath test, there is no blood test offered. It will be marked as a refusal of a evidentry test, which in my State will disqualify your CDL (I believe just about every State is this way.)

    On the flip side, you do fairly well on the SFST's and are not arrested for DUI. As a operator of a CMV, you may not have a detectable presence of alcohol on your breath or person. I will offer a preliminary breath test to detect the presence of alcohol. If the driver register's, we will take a ride to the troop/barrack/ police department and have a breath test administered by a qualified breath technician. The PBT's are not admissible in a court of law in my State, so you need the Breath test machine at the troop/barrack/police department, just as you do for the DMV sanctions. I can only speak of my State, but we don't offer blood tests unless you are in a collision and transported to a hospital. Blood test are expensive, breath test do not cost hardly anything. The only other time we will do a blood test is if the driver is not under the influence of alcohol, but obviosly impaired. A drug recognition expert (DRE) will be called and the driver will be put through a battery of tests. At the conclusion of the DRE evaluation, the DRE will request a blood sample if he feels there is drug impairment. If a person refuses, the same sanctions will apply as for a refusal of a breath test.

    Each State is probably different, if you want to know what your State does, contact the highway patrol/state police and ascertain about what they require. They can tell you the specific laws in their State's. I know some companies have contacted us in the past about giving safety meetings to driver's that also include this topic.

    The best advice I can give you, as a professional keep the alcohol away from your truck, as it will protect your livihood. One bad decision can have a lifetime of bad consequences.
     
    jtrnr1951 and sammycat Thank this.
  8. slo-poke

    slo-poke Light Load Member

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    Hey dieselbear this is off topic but do you come by many drivers with DUI on there license?
     
  9. Lurchgs

    Lurchgs Road Train Member

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    I'll have to ask my wife - I know blood tests for BAC are taken here in Colorado. Dunno the criteria...<long pause>

    K - assuming I didn't get any of this wrong:

    In Colorado, it's the choice of the suspect whether you do breath or blood draw - IF it's a traffic / roadside stop. In other words, if the officer *suspects* you of DUI, you can insist on a "legal blood draw". The LEO will have to arrange transport to a medical facility were a qualified phlebotomist will draw two vials of blood. Then the LEO has to either get you home or back to your car.

    On the roadside, the LEO can only insist on a breath test. (kinda hard to do anything else, really). Once the suspect is actually arrested, the LEO then has the option of requiring a blood draw. (as does the suspect, if the LEO opts not to)

    The advantage to a blood draw, of course, is that the results are not disputable, and that you get to keep your license until the test results come back.

    Of course, the disadvantage is that the results are not disputable - if you HAVE been drinking, you are nailed to the wall.

    (You should all know that breath tests ARE disputable - and are frequently tossed out)

    Now, if you are involved in a major or *injury* accident, you get no choice. You WILL have blood drawn.

    ok - yes, there's a caveat. I said TWO vials of blood are drawn. One is tested, the other is labeled and put in storage. If the defense challenges the first results, the second vial is tested. And away you go.

    I'm pretty sure that's how she explained it to me. I may have messed up a detail or two, but in general, that's that.
     
  10. dieselbear

    dieselbear Road Train Member

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    Lot of local driver's, I see them in their past. Some OTR guys I stop have had them too. Most are O/O or work for O/O. I last had a DUI in a truck last month, .11 from OTR guy.
     
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