Each December, alcohol consumption within the UK increases by 40% compared to the rest of the year, with the Christmas period and drinking going hand in hand. But when driving is your business, you need to know that your drivers are clued up on the dangers associated with drink-driving.
The vast majority of the general public know the dangers of drink driving and opt to take an alternative route home that evening. However, many are still unaware of the potential risks they could be putting themselves and the general public in by getting back behind the wheel the next morning. Statistics show that only 33% of the population are aware that they could still be over the limit the next day², with over 5,500 people a year failing breath tests the morning-after.
As part of your company’s duty of care, it is your responsibility to ensure that your drivers know their limits and understand both the laws and the risks associated with drink driving. Below are our top tips on how to ensure your drivers stay safe behind the wheel this Christmas:
1. Make sure your drivers know the facts
By keeping track of how many units they’ve drank, they can work out roughly how long they should wait before attempting to drive. The NHS guidelines for the amount of time it takes our livers to process alcohol is:
+1 hour for each unit consumed
+1 hour extra for the alcohol to be absorbed
E.g. if Paul had two large glasses of wine (3 units each) and two shots of spirit (1 unit each) he would need to wait (1 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 1) roughly 9 hours for the alcohol to be processed.
However, it is also important to remember that the speed in which your liver works differs from person to person which leads us to….
2. Enforce a zero tolerance approach
Just because your drivers are under the limit does not mean they are safe to drive. At just below the legal limit (England/Wales), our reaction times are 13% slower than normal, and we are still four times more likely to be involved in a crash3. Alcohol affects individuals differently and is dependent on:
- weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
- the type and amount of alcohol they’re drinking
- what they’ve eaten recently
- the stress levels at the time
Mitigate your risks by ensuring a zero tolerance approach.
3. Ensure they plan ahead
If they are drinking then they shouldn’t be driving. If your drivers are planning a night out, or know that they will be drinking after work then it is their responsibility to book the next day off. Even if they wake up feeling fit to work, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are fit to drive.
4. Invest in an alcohol interlock device
If a pilot had been drinking heavily the night before, but could roughly estimate when he should be sober enough to fly, would you board the plane? The only way to be sure that your driver’s are safe to drive is to implement a breathalyser policy. Creating a policy where drivers must check their Breath Alcohol Concentration before getting into a vehicle ensures you are operating a safe and legal fleet at all times. Enjoy the flexibility to select a breathalyser that works for your drink & drugs policy. From simple, single-use breathalysers, to tethered alcohol interlock devices that immobilise the vehicle if the driver’s BrAC is too high, you can ensure your drivers are safe to get behind the wheel.
Protect your fleet against drink driving with our range of market-leading alcohol interlock devices.
1 – (RoSPA Road Safety Factsheet July 2018)
2 – (Rehab 4 Alcoholism, Drink Driving at Christmas, December 2017)
3 – (autocar 2015 drink-driving how motorists are falling foul of ‘morning after’ offences)