16 May 2014

A road safety charity has called for employers to implement zero-tolerance policies on at-work drink and drug-driving, after a survey found that fewer than half of bosses would dismiss an employee for driving over the legal alcohol limit.

The survey was carried out by the road safety charity Brake and Licence Bureau, which is an official bureau of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The study revealed that:

  • more than half of employers never test employees for alcohol (55%) or drugs (57%)

  • only 4 in 10 (44%) would dismiss an employee found driving over the legal limit for alcohol

  • 6 in 10 (62%) take disciplinary action against employees found to have any amount of alcohol or illegal drugs in their system at work, but only 3 in 10 (30%) would dismiss employees for this

  • fewer than half (47%) educate their drivers on the risks of drug-driving, and only slightly more (50%) educate drivers on the risks of drink-driving.

According to Brake, research indicates that drink-driving accounts for one in six UK road deaths and even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving. Studies also suggest almost a quarter (24%) of road deaths in the UK involve at least one illegal drug or medicine.

Commenting on the survey, Laura Woods, Research and Information Officer at Brake, said, “It is desperately worrying that so many employers are lacking the tough approach needed to tackle drink and drug driving at work. This is highly dangerous, selfish risk-taking that should be treated as gross misconduct.”

Les Owen from Licence Bureau added, "Too many companies bury their head in the sand about road risk management, but this is not helping their business nor making our roads safer.”