Use fleet software to implement new drug-driving policies, says Chevin
It is now an offence to drive with certain controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood, just as it is with drink driving. Penalties include a minimum one year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000, up to six months in prison and a criminal record.
Ashley Sowerby, managing director of Chevin, said: “Fleets need to respond to these changes at a policy level, both looking at how to handle anyone who is given a drug-driving conviction and also how to manage drivers who are currently taking prescription drugs.
“The latter situation is one especially that may require careful management. There is a long list of prescription medications affected by the new laws. If you have been prescribed them by a medical professional, there is a defence is law, but it would much better – arguably even essential – for employers to know whether drivers are taking them in advance from a risk management point of view, especially if they could potentially affect driving ability.”
Sowerby said that in Chevin’s FleetWave software, the driver module could be used to record and monitor almost any duty of care issues and that this would be the most practical and effective method of managing the new situation for existing users. Also, licences could be batch checked with the DVLA for relevant endorsements direct from the system.
“Certainly, we are offering guidance to fleets on the best way to amend their policies to take account of the new laws and how to use their software to implement these changes.”
As well as covering legal prescription drugs, the new law sets extremely low limits for illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.
Sowerby continued: “Fleets also need to embark on an education programme to ensure that drivers are aware of any risks. Rightly or wrongly, on any sizeable fleet, there will probably be users of cannabis and cocaine, but these employees may not be aware of the change in law and the way in which this could affect their licence, their job and even their liberty.”