Employers are being urged to implement zero-tolerance policies on at-work drink- and drug-driving by road safety charity Brake, as a Brake and Licence Bureau survey finds fewer than half (44%) would dismiss an employee for driving over the legal alcohol limit.
Published in a report for employers with staff who drive for work by Brake's Fleet Safety Forum, the survey reveals:
It is vital that any employer with staff who drive for work takes steps to prevent drink and drug driving. Drink-driving accounts for one in six UK road deaths , and even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving . Research suggests almost a quarter (24%) of road deaths in the UK involve at least one illegal drug or medicine .
Previous Brake research has found people who drive for work are susceptible to these risks. They are more likely to admit to driving first thing after having drunk a lot of alcohol the night before, and to driving after taking illegal drugs, than drivers who do not drive for work .
The survey also found many employers don't have crucial practices in place to manage other fitness drive issues, like tiredness, stress and poor eyesight, which can lead to devastating and costly crashes:
Steps such as introducing zero-tolerance policies on drink and drugs, requiring regular eye tests, and managing workloads and schedules, can help organisations prevent devastating crashes, reduce insurance and repair costs, and improve their reputation.
Employers can access more detailed advice from Brake by ordering the report and joining Brake's Fleet Safety Forum at www.brakepro.org/survey2014pt1.
Brake's advice for employers
Drink- and drug-driving are deadly risks. Any amount of alcohol or illegal drug use at work should be considered gross misconduct. This zero-tolerance policy should be supported by comprehensive alcohol and drugs education, covering such inadvertent risks as ‘morning-after' drink driving, and the risks from medicines such as hayfever drugs. Workplace testing for drugs and alcohol will ensure employees are following the rules and help spot any problem drivers before they cause a crash.
Safe drivers are well-rested, alert, and stress-free. Employers should talk to their drivers about any health concerns, including stress from their work or home life, to flag up any problems that might affect their driving. It is also important to manage schedules to ensure drivers have sufficient rest time, and are not put under undue pressure that could cause stress or encourage them to take risks such as speeding.
Good eyesight is fundamental to safe driving, so employers should require drivers to have eye tests at least every two years, preferably funded by the organisation.
The Fleet Safety Forum survey report gives further guidance and best practice case studies in managing fitness to drive issues. Employers can order the report at www.brakepro.org/survey2014pt1.
About the report
The survey results come from Brake and Licence Bureau's Fleet Safety Forum Survey Report Part One: Fit to Drive, released today (Wednesday 14 May 2014). 228 organisations that employ drivers responded to the survey, which was conducted online through SurveyMonkey.
Brake advises and supports companies to manage their road risk through its Fleet Safety Forum. The survey report is available for free to Fleet Safety Forum subscribers, or can be purchased for £5 by non-subscribers. Special offer: the first 25 non-subscribers to request the report through our online form will get a copy for FREE.
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
The Fleet Safety Forum is a not-for-profit service for fleet managers run by Brake. Subscribers receive: free and discounted access to Brake's professional events; free training in Brake's Pledge to stop dangerous and unnecessary driving; e-bulletins containing the latest initiatives and research in fleet and road safety from across the globe; password access to the Brake Professional website containing guidance for managers and a host of resources for drivers; and posters. Annual subscription costs £155 +VAT. Subscribe atwww.brakepro.org, call +44 (0)1484 559909 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.