Fleet News

Drink fears over Euro soccer clash

THOUSANDS of fleet drivers could put their licences and lives at risk on Monday following England's opening match of Euro 2004 against France, safety experts warn.

Celebrations or commiserations following the late kick-off at 7.45pm on Sunday could mean employees drink enough to still be over the limit when they get in their cars on Monday morning.

Although drivers may dismiss the chance of drinking enough to put them over the limit, safety experts have proved that a relatively small amount of alcohol can put their licence at risk.

Research suggests that as little as four pints or four large glasses of wine the night before could still be in a driver's system the next morning. The earlier drivers get on the road, the greater the risk.

Drink drive expert Roger Singer said: 'With most matches starting early in the evening there is a likelihood that we may drink over a longer period of time, therefore the alcohol consumed during the previous evening may still be around the next morning.'

Statistics show that of the 90,000 drivers convicted of drink-driving every year, 17% are on their way to work or are driving for work purposes.

Fleet executives could find themselves in the dock if one of their drivers is involved in an accident the morning after a drinking session.

Singer added: 'It doesn't matter if they are in their own vehicle or yours, if the journey purpose is work-related you, the employer, can be deemed responsible for anything that goes wrong. At worst we are talking corporate manslaughter. In liveried vehicles there is the added issue of public perception and negative company image'.

Fleets with a policy of telling drivers not to drink-drive may find it is not enough to cover them should their driver get a drink-drive conviction.

Singer added: 'On its own a policy, however extensive, is not enough. The Government says 'if a company trains and does check-ups on its drivers and then a driver, against the advice given, causes an accident, the company can say it has done all that is reasonable.'

  • To help fleets prepare a drink drive policy, Avoidd has an online document at www.drinkdrive.co.uk/policyquest.htm. Company executives can fill the form in before being sent a draft policy.

    No excuses: answering drink/drive arguments

  • My drivers would never drive after drinking – 17% of drink-drive convictions involve drivers on the way to, or at, work.

  • It's not my vehicle – if the journey purpose is related to work, companies can be deemed responsible if anything goes wrong.

  • You have to be over the limit to be convicted – most people are significantly impaired below the limit of 80mg/100ml of blood. If 'impairment is shown' that's still a year ban.

  • You would have to drink 'loads' to be over the next day – four pints will still be in your system the next morning.

  • Everybody knows how long it takes to clear alcohol from the body so there is no excuse – get it wrong and drivers could be walking to work for a year, if they keep their jobs.

  • We have a policy which says don't drink-drive, so we're covered – don't drink-drive is an objective, not the policy itself. Writing a policy is complicated – Avoidd offers help on its website

  • It's only a problem at Christmas and the new year – June is the peak time for drink-driving.

  • You have to be driving to be convicted – no you don't, you only have to be 'in charge', for example have the keys.

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