Zero-tolerance needed for at-work drink and drug-driving

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 14:10
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DANGER: Would you dismiss for drink or drugs?

Employers should implement zero-tolerance policies on at-work drink- and drug-driving, Brake have insisted, after figures revealed just 44% of fleet operators would dismiss an employee for the crime.

A survey by the road safety charity, in conjunction with Licence Bureau, also showed 55% of fleet managers never test employees for alcohol, with 57% never testing for drugs.

Meanwhile, 62% claimed they take disciplinary action against employees found to have alcohol or illegal drugs in their system, but just 30% would dismiss them.

Less than half (47%) say they educate drivers on the risks of drug-driving and only 50% educate drivers on the risks of drink-driving.

Drink-driving accounts for one in six UK road deaths, while research suggests 24% of road deaths in the UK involve at least one illegal drug or medicine.

“It is desperately worrying that so many employers are lacking the tough approach needed to tackle drink and drug driving at work.”

Laura Woods, Brake

Laura Woods, Research and Information Officer at Brake, said: “It is desperately worrying that so many employers are lacking the tough approach needed to tackle drink and drug driving at work.

“This is highly dangerous, selfish risk-taking that should be treated as gross misconduct.

“People who drive for work should be clear that there is no safe amount to drink before driving – not a drop.

“We’re appealing to all employers with staff who drive for work to ensure their drivers know the risks, know the rules, and know that breaking the rules will not be tolerated.

“Employers can use Brake’s Fleet Safety Forum guidance to review their driving policies and practices, and ensure their drivers are always fit to drive.”

The survey also found many employers don’t have practices in place to manage other fitness to drive issues, including tiredness, stress and poor eyesight.

Only 42% regularly review schedules and workloads to ensure drivers are not put under undue pressure that could lead to stress or tiredness.

Just 60% stipulate that employees should stop and rest if they feel sleepy at the wheel, while 25% require staff who drive for work to have a full eyesight test every two years.

Les Owen, of Licence Bureau, added: “Too many companies bury their head in the sand about road risk management, but this is not helping their business nor making our roads safer.

“This report identifies the state of companies’ management of fitness to drive issues.

“Companies have a responsibility to manage the at-work safety of staff who drive just as much as staff performing construction, electrical, engineering or other duties, and should consider their corporate social responsibility when reading this report.

“If all employers acted positively, one step at a time, to implement the recommendations in this report it would make a big difference to road safety, result in fewer collisions, and benefit many businesses’ bottom line.

“All companies can make a huge difference to safety by following these recommendations, whether they already engage with Brake or not.”

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