December 10, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Commercial Driver License and Permit Holders
Face Changes January 1 in DUI Rules
WETHERSFIELD Ė Beginning January 1, those with a commercial driverís license or a commercial driverís instruction permit will be barred from using state programs that prevent convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) and some other serious traffic offenses when operating a private vehicle.
No longer will they be exempt from criminal sanctions and exempt from commercial driver license disqualification for a first-time DUI offense when operating their private vehicles. Until now, they could use a special state diversion program to prevent a conviction resulting from a first-time DUI in those vehicles.
A state law passed earlier this year brings Connecticut into compliance with federal rules that prohibit a bypass of sanctions no matter the vehicle driven by the CDL and CDL-permit holders who violate these laws. Current law calls for sanctions and CDL disqualification for DUI and other serious traffic convictions when operating a commercial motor vehicle.
ďDriving under the influence is a serious charge and risks the lives of others on the road as well as drivers themselves. The federal law holds those with a CDL license to a high standard,Ē said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey.
Under the stateís alcohol education program, persons arrested for a first-time for DUI must successfully complete a series of classes on the dangers of alcohol and impairment when driving. Providing there are no further occurrences, the DUI charge is dismissed and there is no conviction on the state records after the completion of the course.
The following is the message DMV is sending to CDL holders statewide:
Beginning on January 1, 2014, if you hold a Commercial Driverís License (CDL) or Commercial Driverís Instruction Permit (Permit) and are arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) or for a serious traffic offense (such as reckless driving or evading responsibility):
- You will not be able to use a diversion program such as the Alcohol Education Program or the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program even if you are arrested while you are driving your personal vehicle.
- If you are convicted for the offense, your CDL or Permit will be disqualified for the required period and the conviction will remain on your record for 55 years.
- If you are convicted, you also face a suspension of your regular license.
- If you are convicted of an DUI offense, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your personal motor vehicle.
This new law brings Connecticut into compliance with the federal law that says that a state must not permit a CDL or Permit holderís participation in a diversion program.
You risk losing your livelihood. Please drive safely and if necessary, use a designated driver. Please remember the dangers of drinking and driving or committing serious driving offenses.