We are all aware of the term “drink driving” well the term “drug driving” is set to become just as familiar to us all as the Government has indicated its going to get tough on what until now has largely been overlooked, ignored or swept under the carpet in all but the most severe cases.
Companies now have to take this matter seriously and implement strict rules to prevent anyone driving after they have consumed any kind of social or recreational drug.
Just reflect for a moment, if anyone driving on your instruction or as part of their work for you, is involved in an accident, well you as the employer could be held responsible if you don’t have procedures in place that are targeted at preventing it and don’t gloss over this, as we now have the “Corporate Manslaughter Act” and if there is a fatality, you could find yourself losing your business, or even ending up in jail.
Recent figures show that one in ten young drivers admit to taking illegal drugs, then go on to drive a car and that’s just a small survey, so I would suggest the problem is actually much greater than that as drug taking isn’t just a young persons problem, its not confined to teenagers or those in their twenties, it transcends all age groups.
You could tell if the person sitting next to you on the train, or in your office had taken a drink or two, but could you do the same if he had taken a substance, or smoked a joint? I think the answer is almost certainly no, yet in terms of operating machinery, or driving a car, well they could easily be as dangerous as the town drunk.
Most of us know the effect alcohol has on us is in terms of impairing our abilities and most of us would never dream of getting behind the wheel after drinking, and if someone you were out with had a few drinks and was then going to drive, most of us would try everything we could to prevent them, even going as far as threatening to report it to the police.
With drug driving it’s very different. If you’ve never taken drugs, as most of us haven’t, we can’t begin to imagine the detrimental affect it would have on our driving, so it’s somehow its become socially acceptable for an addict to take his chosen fix, and then drive off into the sunset, without any of us complaining and even more worryingly, chances are you wont even know the person has taken drugs, so who knows, you might even get in the car with them.
Anything that impacts on a driver’s ability to drive a car safely should prevent them from getting behind the wheel, and drugs certainly do that. Attitudes have to change and companies must put policies in place to prevent this happening and these must start by spelling out to their drivers that driving having consumed even the mildest recreational drug is just as unacceptable as getting behind the wheel when drunk.