Shaun Sadlier's blog: 50 years of the breathalyser
23 October 2017
By Shaun Sadlier, head of consulting, Arval
There's a lot of coverage in the press at the moment about the fact that the breathalyser is 50 years old. As a piece of road safety equipment, it's been hugely effective. In 1967, there were 1,640 road deaths linked to alcohol; today, we are running at about an eighth of that level.
Most, if not all, fleets now take a strict approach to alcohol. If you are driving a company vehicle, chances are that you will be told not to drink at all. From a corporate responsibility and a simple ethical point of view, this is to be applauded and, because this approach has been reinforced over many years, there is an argument that most fleets do all they practically can to tackle drink driving.
A less mature area for fleets is drug driving. As you are likely to know, a drug-driving law came into effect in 2015 along with roadside testing devices. Last month, the Government reported that motorists are now just as likely to be convicted for driving under the influence of drugs as they are for drink driving. However, while some fleets are very much up-to-speed on drug driving guidance, few have it ingrained in their company policy and culture in the same way as drink-driving, for example, by making it part of their general risk management framework.
The fact is that drug driving is every bit as dangerous as drink driving - sometimes more so - whether employees are indulging in recreational substances or have been prescribed medication. Fleets need to ensure that they are playing their part in a cultural change now underway that will mean drivers become every bit as aware of the dangers of drugs behind the wheel as they are of alcohol.
In the future, we should be able to look back and see that the impact of drug driving laws were every bit as significant as the introduction of the breathlyzer.