VAN operators should be reminding their drivers of the dangers of drink-driving during June. And tradesmen you should be reminding yourself of the dangers.
More sociable behaviour across the summer months is generally seen as creating an increased chance that business van drivers will – usually inadvertently – drink beyond the legal limit, particularly at family events such as BBQs, through social drinking.
Interestingly, figures released by the Association of Chief Police Officers shows that the number of drivers convicted during last summer’s drink-driving campaign – 5.6% of 101,000 breathalysed – matches almost exactly the rate recorded by us from among the thousands of fleet drivers with convictions on our Licence Link database.
Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC, comments: “Our experience is that very few company van drivers and small businesses consciously take a chance by deliberately drink driving in their company van. Ethical issues aside, the chances of losing your licence and your job creates a definite reality check.
“What is probably much more of an issue is the employee who visits a Sunday afternoon family barbeque and drinks a couple of cans of full strength lager, believing that if they wait a couple of hours before they get behind the wheel, they will be legal and safe.
“SME van operators should do everything possible to discourage this kind of ‘unit counting’. It is a lottery as to whether a driver doing this will stay under the limit. The only safe option is not to drink and employers should consider adopting a zero tolerance approach to drinking at all behind the wheel of company vans.”
Editor’s note: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) launched its annual drink-drive campaign at the beginning of June. ACPO says police officers will be out in force during the campaign in a bid to crack down on those who think they can drink or take drugs and drive and get away with it.
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning added: “Drink and drug driving are serious offences and drivers should be in no doubt that if they are caught behind the wheel under the influence this summer they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.
“We are taking forward measures to make it easier for the police to tackle drink and drug driving and protect law abiding road users including plans for drug testing kits to help detect drug drivers and tightening the law on drink driving.
“The number of drink driving deaths has fallen by more than 75% since 1979. But drink and drug driving still kills hundreds of people, that is why we want to help the police take tough action to tackle these reckless drivers.”
Further information on social drinking and drink driving
For more information on drink-driving read the news story Government ups focus on drink and drug driving.
Alternatively, there’s our Law & Tax article on Business Car Manager The law and drink driving.