Fleet News

Fleets call time on late drinking

LONGER opening hours for pubs will trap more unwary company car drivers into drink-driving the morning after, experts have claimed.

Nearly one in five drink-drive offences are committed by employees driving to work who are still over the limit the morning after. And a lethal combination of pubs staying open later thanks to new licensing laws introduced last week and the run-up to Christmas could mean more drivers than ever heading out on business the next day over the limit.

Fleet decision-makers are being urged to reinforce their drug and alcohol policies before the festive period to ensure drivers understand that alcohol can stay in the blood much longer than people expect after they have had a drink. Drink-drive expert Roger Singer, from consultancy Avoidd, said: ‘There are 90,000 drink-drive convictions a year and we have met thousands of drivers from all walks of life.

‘When we explain to them about how they can be over the limit the morning after drinking they all ask why they were never told that in the first place.’

Jenny Wynn, director of drink- driver education firm TTC Group, agreed that the Government’s relaxing of the licensing laws would probably mean more people would get behind the wheel of a car when they were over the limit.

She said: ‘The Government’s decision to have longer opening hours is likely to mean that there will be more people on the roads who are over the limit. Without better education, more people are likely to be at risk as a result of this legislation.’

Helen Symons, spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern, said the new later opening hours were a concern. But she said: ‘People need to be aware that stopping drinking at 11pm doesn’t necessarily ensure they are under the limit the next morning. They may not feel like they are still drunk in the morning but that doesn’t mean they’re not.

‘If they’re in any doubt whatsoever, they shouldn’t get in the car.’

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