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Fleets should remind drivers of new Scottish drink driving laws, says Licence Bureau

Scotland’s new laws were introduced on 5 December 2014, bringing the new limit down to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, compared to the rest of the UK, which operates at an 80mg/100ml level.

Despite a 19% fall in numbers of drivers being caught over the limit in Scotland during the festive period, Licence Bureau is advising fleets to review workplace drug and alcohol policies.

This should include updating the employee handbook, HR departments highlighting the law changes and for those remote workers such as van and HGV drivers, they should be sent written confirmation of the new rules to ensure a company adheres to their Duty of Care requirements.

The change is particularly important for fleets that operate wholly in Scotland, or live close to the Scottish border and regularly travel north.

Malcolm Maycock, managing director at Licence Bureau, said: ‘Scotland’s new rules only emphasise the need for a zero-tolerance attitude for fleets operating vehicles, both north and south of the border. This is especially important in avoiding potential complications for drivers who have exceeded the legal limit on entering Scotland, while minimising any issues should a driver be involved in a road traffic collision.’

He added that drivers that incorporate overnight stays into travelling on business, including HGV drivers sleeping in their own cab, must be made aware of the implications of drinking before driving the following morning, due to the time taken for the body to absorb alcohol.

Although the majority of fleets strictly enforce a no-tolerance approach to their drivers drinking before driving, alterations may need to be made to driver handbooks highlighting the change to Scottish laws. If employees are caught drink driving, there could be serious consequences to consider for drivers and fleets.

Maycock added: ‘It’s important that fleets and their drivers fully understand the implications of Scotland’s reduced drink-driving limit and immediately implement the necessary changes in order to remain compliant and safe. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this proved to be the catalyst for a complete, nationwide ban on drink-driving within the next three years.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.