Dangers of drink and drug driving – Fleet Operators urged to step up policies
Fleet operators are being encouraged to step up their drug and alcohol policies with the help of new resources from the Global Fleet Champions campaign, to raise awareness of how fleets can protect themselves, their drivers, and the public from the risk of drink- and drug-driving. Produced in partnership with D.Tec International, the resources include a short animated film called Fit to drive: Drug and alcohol testing for a safer fleet, and four posters aimed at different professional drivers.
The film highlights the benefits of introducing stronger drug and alcohol policies and regularly testing drivers to make sure they are fit to be behind the wheel. Police-reported drug tests submitted to D.Tec suggest around 30,000 people are prosecuted each year for drug-driving in Britain – or more than 80 a day.
Worldwide, it is estimated that at least 273,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes each year, and, due to under-reporting, the true figure may be even higher . Road crashes that result in death or serious injury have devastating consequences, for the people who are injured, for the families who are bereaved, and for fleet organisations. If a driver was drinking alcohol or taking drugs, they could lose their licence and face jail time, with much more severe penalties if someone was killed. Their manager could also be held proportionally liable and charged with corporate manslaughter, face an HSE prosecution and receive a potentially bankrupting fine even a jail term. To avoid this, it is vital that fleet organisations have robust drug and alcohol policies that commit them to carry out screening tests. Drivers should be tested randomly; after a crash, and when they are recruited to learn about the dangers of drink and drug driving.
Ean Lewin, Managing Director, D.tec International, adds “During our recent national Police conference DRUG20 we posed the question, ‘Is there more drug driving than drink driving?’ Our delegate response suggests that this is the case. One force pointed out that 50% of the drivers they found positive to drugs were driving for work in some capacity. Mr Lewin also pointed out that “managers of fleets have to realise that they are proportionately liable in the eyes of the law and the only way to reduce this is to educate their employees on the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs. D.tec work with employers to weed out the not so innocent minority, by screening for drug or alcohol misuse. Fleet managers need to take responsibility and do all they can to ensure their employees are fit to drive. Putting an effective deterrent in place should also help alleviate the pressure these employees are putting on valuable police resources.”
1. Alcohol-related road casualties in official crash statistics