Why Carry Out Employee Testing in the Transport Industry?
Driving is a dangerous activity for all, with factors such as weather conditions and high traffic volumes contributing to increase in road accidents. As a result, road users have a responsibility to themselves and others to keep the roads safe. Careless driving, a lapse in judgement or a slight delay in reaction can have fatal consequences.
As a professional driver, the responsibility to carry out daily tasks on roads and rails safely and securely extends to not only themselves and fellow road users, but also for the safety of those using their service. This, along with the fact that driving is one of the most dangerous work activities, emphasizes the need for driving in the workplace to be closely monitored. Workplace drug and alcohol testing ensures a proactive approach to keeping work related journeys as safe as possible.
The European Transport Safety Council is dedicated in reducing the number of deaths and injuries in transport in Europe. With drink driving being responsible for the death of thousands of Europeans every year, and the inevitability of serious injuries of those involved in truck collisions, they express the importance for regular employee testing for HGV drivers.
Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Driving Ability
Studies have found that even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. As a result many regulatory bodies advise that drivers should be 100% sober with not even a drop of alcohol in their system.
To ensure the roads are kept as safe as possible, government regulations are in place to ensure driving under the influence is not permitted.
Alcohol limits can also vary depending on the mode of transport being driven. In the UK, under the Railways Transportation Safety Bill, the alcohol limit for employees working in the transport industry is 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.02 BAC), and 9 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath. This applies to those working as pilots, cabincrew, air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers, train drivers, and commercial seamen. Similarly, some European countries have a lower alcohol limit for drivers of buses, coaches, and heavy goods vehicles.
To ensure employees adhere to international regulations, an effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policy with regular testing is recommended.
There are serious implications for employees and employers involved in abuse of drugs and alcohol at work. In regards to driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the penalties are as follows:
Driving with excess alcohol
- A fine (the normal fine for a basic drink drive offence is between £400 and £450)
- A statutory minimum period of disqualification of 12 months
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- A maximum of 14 years imprisonment
Serious, including repeat, drink-drive offences (Road Safety Act, 2006)
- Period of disqualification
- Retake the driving test at the end of the disqualification period