Key facts about drink driving and road safety

Key facts about drink driving and road safety

Drink driving laws have been with us for longer than you might think – in fact, from before the invention of the internal combustion engine. Before cars ruled the roads, they were full of horses with carriages. In 1872 the Licensing Act came into law, prohibiting a state of drunkenness while in charge of horses and carriages, as well as cattle and steam engines!

The penalty for breaking this law? A maximum fine of 40 shillings and/or imprisonment with or without hard labour for up to a month. Apart from the hard labour element, countries across the world still impose stiff penalties for drink driving.
For decades, governments have wrestled with the issue, launching numerous campaigns and imposing various types of sanctions. Fleet managers of transport companies have rigorously included drink driving in their training programs.
In this article, we’re going to look at drink driving in the truck sector – and demonstrate how Alcohol Interlock systems, such as AddSecure’s Breathalock, are playing their part in further reducing drink driving among fleet drivers.

Drink driving and dangerous driving – the facts

There’s plenty of evidence to demonstrate a steady decline in deaths resulting from dangerous driving caused by drink. In the UK, such fatalities have plummeted from 1,640 in 1979 to a low of 210 in 2015 and have hovered around this level ever since.
The news of this decline in alcohol-related deaths is welcome. However, complacency would be a mistake. Until the day arrives when we can announce a fatality figure of zero, we must do all we can, as a responsible society, to protect our drivers, their vehicles and all other road users from the pernicious and often tragic consequences of drink driving.

Road safety and drink driving

Even a small quantity of alcohol can have the following impact on driving safety

  • Reduced coordination: difficulty in steering and in carrying out more than one operation at a time
  • Increased reaction time – responding slowly to an unexpected event, such as a child stepping into the road.
  • Flawed judgment – difficulty assessing your and other people’s behaviour (speed, distances, movement) and estimating risks.
  • Loss of concentration, memory, vision and hearing – only focusing on the road ahead, losing track of events in the peripheral vision area.
  • An exaggerated feeling of confidence and overestimation of abilities.

Are your people safe to drive the morning after drinking alcohol?

It’s a mistake for your drivers to believe that they’re safe to be behind the wheel of a truck the next day following an evening of drinking alcohol. A good night’s sleep, a cup of strong coffee and a cold shower won’t have any effect on the levels of alcohol in their bloodstream. They might feel safe to drive, but the only way to remove alcohol from their system is to simply…give it time.

As an approximate guide, your drivers should allow themselves one hour per unit of alcohol before driving. For example, if they’ve enjoyed a single glass of wine worth 2.8 units of alcohol, they should wait for around three hours before driving.

How easy is it to get a driving licence back following a drink driving conviction?

A conviction for drink driving will result in several regrettable consequences – principally, of course, the loss of livelihood for your driver.

In the UK, when a driver loses their HGV licence for more than 56 days, they will have to re-apply. With the minimum sentence for drink driving offences being 12 months, any HGV driver who loses their licence for drink driving will have to reapply.

How to prevent drink driving with your drivers

Every fleet manager has a duty to do all they can to ensure the safety of their drivers, the vehicles and all road users. Enforcing a strict drink driving policy must form a key part of that policy.

An Alcohol Interlock system, such as AddSecure’s Breathalock, is the ideal solution. This system integrates with our telematics software, and should your driver fail a breath test, their vehicle becomes instantly immobile.

The Breathalock solution has numerous benefits –

1. Breathalock puts a stop to drink-drinking in your fleet
2. Breathalock can be installed in any vehicle
3. It’s easy to use and provides instant results
4. It protects your staff, the public, and your company
5. Breathalock fully integrates with the other AddSecurte solutions

Driver identification integration enables you to track your drivers while they are out on the road, providing you with live and historic breath sample data. You can also run numerous reports and analyse patterns of behaviour within your fleet.
The safety and protection of your people, your vehicles and all road users must be your number one priority. Get your free Breathalock demo here!