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Roddy Graham's Blog: 4 June 2010 - Putting Brake on drink driving

Date: 04 June 2010

Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo

Drink driving and drug driving deaths and injuries remain unacceptably high. In 2008, 11,000 in the UK alone were killed or injured as a result of driver impairment through drink or drugs. Drunk drivers cause over one in ten road deaths on our roads with 269 recorded deaths caused by drivers over the drink drive limit. And the worst culprits are 'at work' drivers.

Research by the road safety charity Brake reveals that 14 per cent of 'at work' drivers admitted to consuming three or more units of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. This compares with just six per cent of other drivers. That's over double the number of 'at work' drivers acting irresponsibly!

Even after a heavy night, 'at work' drivers act more irresponsibly than other drivers do with a third admitting driving first thing in the morning compared to 21 per cent of other drivers.

The above facts alone should get fleet managers thinking about their duty of care responsibilities and organisations considering their corporate social responsibilities the next time they organise an off-site sales or marketing conference. We've all attended such events, where the day's proceedings are followed up by a celebratory dinner and heavy drinking at the bar till the wee small hours. It happens at awards ceremonies too.

All of us have a moral, as well as a corporate social responsibility, to take stock of our actions and reconsider how we handle certain social situations. The obvious one for an off-site corporate event involving an overnight stay is to limit alcohol intake and wrap up official proceedings at mid-day the following day rather than the night before. As to awards dinners, well there's no getting away from the fact that it's natural everyone attending is after a good time and will inevitably let their hair down. How much people consume is down to the individual but inevitably most will still be over the legal limit the morning after. Corporate policy for those attending awards events should be to insist that they leave the car keys behind and attend said events by public transport.

Brake is doing its bit by launching a new campaign called 'Face Facts'. Posters and e-guides are available to assist fleet managers in alerting company drivers and grey fleet drivers as to the risks of drink and drug driving. The aim of the campaign is to assist fleet managers in identifying drink and drug driving abuse through screening and testing procedures.

Employee drink driving and drug driving rules should be covered by fleet policy and be a key element in any company vehicle driver's manual. The punishment for transgressing the rules should be instant dismissal. When it comes to such potential dangerous activities, there can be no other corporate option than a zero tolerance policy. Corporate reputation is at stake, not to mention the all-important life of the driver and potential innocent victims of those driver's actions.