The Senior Traffic Commissioner, Beverley Bell, has issued a reminder to the fleet industry holders about the importance of managing the risks around drink and drug driving.
Bell told an audience of industry professionals the matter should be an urgent priority for every driver.
She also warned HGV, bus and coach drivers about their conduct and the standards they must uphold to prove they are fit to hold vocational driving entitlements.
Speaking at an annual event in the North West, Bell told operator licence holders it was critical to have an occupational road risk policy in place. This would help them to manage the risks around drink and drug driving and to make those procedures absolutely clear to all employees, but especially drivers.
She also called on drivers to remember their professional responsibilities when they get into a commercial vehicle.
“Traffic commissioners are clear about the professional standards we expect to see from HGV, bus and coach drivers,” said Bell.
“It is not appropriate for any driver to be under the influence of drink or drugs while operating a large goods vehicle, bus or coach.
“Operators play a key role in this and need to have an occupational road risk policy in place to deal with instances where drink or drug driving is identified.
“It is absolutely critical for licence holders to ensure that drivers are aware of the professional standards and the operator’s policy.
“Licence holders should also plan for the risk of a driver failing to uphold those standards.”
Bell added that it was timely to remind drivers of the impact of any reported offences on their vocational licences. “A key part of our role is to examine whether a driver remains fit to hold a licence after being convicted of an offence or reported for adverse conduct,” she said.
Any driver who is reported for drink or drug driving will put their vocational driving licence at risk. Drivers need to be aware that this is not limited to the court’s power of disqualification.
“Where a professional driver is disqualified by a court, they have to reapply for their vocational licence if they want to drive professionally again. This application will be considered by their local Traffic Commissioner.
“Traffic commissioners have the power to suspend, revoke and disqualify professional drivers.”
Bell reminded operators that it is best practice to randomly test drivers and pointed to increased enforcement by the police over the Christmas period.