No plans for coach alcohol law

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A letter from a part-time coach driver to the Scottish Transport Minister has seen a response ruling out an imminent law change on the subject of alcohol aboard coaches.

Neil Edmonstone, a driver at Whytes Coaches, posted a copy of the letter on the Facebook group “Coach Driver’s Name and Shame.”

The letter reads: “An issue which has been discussed at length is the subject of alcohol being consumed on coaches during private hires.

“We are all aware no drink can be consumed going to or from a ‘sporting event’ but us drivers have no power of search. We can only monitor, bearing in mind we are responsible for safety.

“My fellow drivers have regaled some horror stories of journeys being disrupted through alcohol consumption. We feel the only way for us to be in a safer working environment would be for a blanket ban of alcohol on coaches.

“The majority of operators are responsible and take this issue seriously, but it seems ‘joe public’ has this conception that as soon as they board a coach, they have the God given right to alcohol. We’re calling for a change in the law. I would appreciate your feedback.”

Alastair Bowden of the Scottish Government’s Law Reform Division, replied: “We share your concern about the cost of alcohol misuse to the economy and the cost in terms of human misery. That’s why we launched Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action on March 2, 2009. It identifies four areas where sustained action is needed: reduced alcohol consumption; supporting families and communities; positive public attitudes, positive choices and improved treatment and support.

“It is our view that primarily, this issue could be addressed by coach firms through their own conditions of service. It is not an area that we intend to legislate on at this time.”