Drink driving is bad. That’s hardly big news. For decades, society has been aware of the dangerous and often fatal consequences of drinking and driving. Across the globe, for many years, governments have grappled with the issue. They have launched countless campaigns and introduced numerous and varied levels and types of sanctions. Fleet managers have conscientiously included drink drive awareness into their training programs.
Drink driving no longer a problem?
So – the drink-drive problem is resolved, right? You can guarantee that, when your drivers clamber into the cab of their Daf, Scania, Mercedes or Iveco, they’re 100% sober and fit to keep themselves, your vehicles and other road users safe?
Sadly … the answer to the first question is a firm ‘no’. It’s true that deaths caused by drink driving have, for many years, shown a long-term decline. In the UK, such fatalities have dropped from 1,640 in 1979 to as low as 210 in 2015. However, the problem persists. There are even signs, certainly up to 2019, of a small increase, with the annual number of fatalities settling at around 230. In the UK, the most recent survey suggests that 17% of all road deaths are caused by drink driving.
How can drinking alcohol affect the ability to drive?
Just one drink can increase the chances of your driver having an accident in any of the following ways
- The brain slows down, affecting judgement, self-control, rational thought and reaction times.
- The driver can experience a dangerously false feeling of confidence.
- Drivers can lose their inhibitions and are more likely to take risks.
- They tend to focus more on the most basic activities, such as steering, and less on other key driving skills.
After a drink, how long should your drivers wait before driving?
They may be over the legal limit many hours after their last drink, even if they’ve slept all night. It takes more than a few hours’ sleep, a hearty breakfast, strong coffee and a cold shower to make them safe to drive. These steps might make them feel refreshed. However, the only remedy for removing alcohol from their body and making them safe behind the wheel is…time.
As an approximate guide, they need to 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 about three hours before driving.
What is the legal drink driving limit in the UK?
The legal drink driving limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. In Scotland, the legal limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
However, these are only guidelines. The impact that alcohol has on your drivers’ reactions and all-round driving ability will depend on their weight, age, metabolism, how much food they’ve eaten, as well as numerous other factors.
Drink Drive Calculator
You can use an online calculator to estimate whether you’re within the UK legal limit. One example is provided by Confused.com
However, the simplest and only truly safe solution for your drivers is –
DON’T ALLOW THEM TO DRINK ANY ALCOHOL AT ALL
in the hours before starting their driving shift.
Drink Driving Insurance
A conviction for drink driving will result in several regrettable consequences – principally, the loss of livelihood for your driver. But any such conviction will equally have a costly impact on your insurance premiums. If you decide to retain a driver who has been convicted of a drink driving offence, an online search will reveal companies who specialise in offering insurance to drivers convicted of drink driving.
How to prevent drink driving with your drivers
Clearly, you have a duty to do all you can to prevent your drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol. One obvious step is to include a ban on drink driving in your terms of employment and in your driver training.
Another solution, which comes as close as you can get to guaranteed, alcohol-free driving, is to adopt an Alcohol Interlock system, such as AddSecure’s Breathalock anti drink driving solution. This system integrates with our telematics software. If your driver fails a breath test their vehicle becomes immediately immobilised.
AddSecure’s Breathalock solution has numerous benefits –
- Breathalock puts a stop to drink-drinking in your fleet
- Breathalock can be installed in any vehicle
- It’s easy to use and provides instant results
- It protects your staff, the public, and your company
- Breathalock fully integrates with the other AddSecure solutions
Driver identification integration also gives you visibility of your team out on the road, providing you with live and historic breath sample data. You can run 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. Book your free Breathalock demo today.