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  • Did you know the new drug driving law can affect your fleet insurance?

    The new drug driving law introduced on 2nd March 2015 now allows the conviction of drivers under the influence of both illegal and legal drugs in England and Wales to be more easily convicted through the introduction of on the spot drug testing. So whilst you can look to implement spot testing of illegal substances within your fleet, being on top of what over the counter prescription drugs are being taken can be a little more tricky...

    Drug driving law can affect your fleet insuranceSpot tests can now be used to judge your impairment

    As prescription and over the counter medicines can impair your ability to drive, police can now test your drivers using a field impairment test or drug screening device if they have reason to believe they are under the influence of illegal or even a legal drug that can affect their driving ability. If someone is shown to be over the specified blood limits for any one of the sixteen drugs identified then they will be charged. This new law is set to reduce the wasted time and effort in proving that the driver has been impaired as a result of the drug taken.

    For the first time there are limitations on the measurement of illegal drugs in addition to those that are legal, providing a much clearer definition on usage.

    95% of drivers still unaware prescription drugs are included

    There are 8 commonly known illegal drugs included, such as cannabis and cocaine, as well as 8 legal drugs including clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, methadone and morphine. However, even though the new law has been in place since the beginning of March over 95% of drivers are still unaware that some prescription drugs fall into this category and a only a small proportion have been warned by their doctors of the revised change in the law. Whilst the inclusion of seemingly unknown prescription drugs may be cause for concern, the limits for legal prescription drugs are fairly high and drivers taking prescription drugs in accordance with the recommended amounts should have no reason to worry.

    How the new drug driving law can affect your fleet

    That said, employers and fleet managers need to be aware of how this can affect their drivers and their business. Such a conviction against your drivers can cause irreparable damage to your reputation. Penalties for your individual drivers can include a twelve month driving ban, a criminal record, or a hefty fine of up to £5,000 or up to 6 months in prison or both. Such a conviction can of course affect their work, provide a criminal record, cause problems getting into some countries and ultimately increase your fleet insurance premiums in addition to proving more difficult to obtain insurance. The individual’s driving licence will show that they have been convicted for drug driving which will last on their licence for 11 years and they will receive a driving ban for a minimum of one year. In addition to these deserving penalties it is also thought that drug driving may cause as many as 200 deaths a year in the UK alone which is something that cannot be ignored.

    How to guard your company against a conviction

    With this in mind companies need to prepare with policies in place to guard against drug driving as well as providing continual training, education and testing to push home the consequences of drug driving and the importance of safety to both your fleet drivers and the general public. Employees need to be fully aware of which of the legal drugs are included within the new law and these should be continually communicated across the team to ensure awareness is maintained.

    When taking legal medication it is advised that you communicate to your drivers not drive if they feel drowsy, dizzy, have blurred vision or are unable to concentrate. If anyone is unsure they should always check with their pharmacist and know not to accept a lift from anyone that they know has taken drugs of any variety.

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