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How can cough drops and mouthwash affect truckers?

Think about your morning routine. You probably brush your teeth and eat breakfast. You might even gargle some mouthwash to be sure that your breath smells as fresh as possible. For truckers, including mouthwash in their morning routine could spell trouble because most mouthwashes include alcohol as an ingredient.

Does the law differentiate between alcohol types? When it comes to blood alcohol concentration, the type of alcohol isn't considered by breathalyzer-type machines. Instead, the breath, blood, or other tests only provide a percentage for BAC. Commercial truckers have to abide by the legal limit of .04 percent BAC. This means that any trucker who is at or above that level can be taken out of service.

What if the BAC isn't at .04 percent or higher? The law strictly forbids truckers from using alcohol before driving. It doesn't provide any differentiation between alcoholic beverages, mouthwashes, cough medications and other consumables that contain alcohol.

The law strictly forbids any measurable alcohol, which has been interpreted as.1 percent or greater. This doesn't leave much room for truckers to use anything that includes alcohol as an ingredient before operating the truck.

Does this mean that there aren't defenses to charges stemming from a BAC caused by something other than alcoholic beverages?

It might be possible to fight back against these charges. You would have to prove that you weren't impaired by the alcohol. Proving the source of the alcohol might be necessary. If you are facing these types of charges, you should work on understanding the options that you have to try to fight the charges and keep your life moving in the right direction.

Source: Landline, "One gargle over the line," Charlie Morasch, accessed Jan. 04, 2017

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