Senior TC calls for better drink & drugs management

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Risk management should be an “urgent priority” for operators

The  Senior  Traffic  Commissioner  for  Great  Britain, Beverley Bell, has issued  a  reminder  to  operator  licence  holders about the importance of managing the risks around drink and drug driving.

Mrs  Bell, who is also the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the North West of England, told an audience of industry professionals the matter should be an “urgent priority” for every licence holder.

She also warned PCV and HGV drivers about their conduct and the standards they must uphold to prove they are fit to hold vocational driving entitlements.

Mrs Bell told O-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, she added, 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.

“TCs are clear about the professional standards we expect to see from drivers – 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 O-licence holders to ensure that drivers are aware of the  professional  standards  and the operator’s policy. O-licence holders should  also plan for the risk of a driver failing to uphold those standards.”

Mrs 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.

“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 TC. TCs have the power to suspend, revoke and disqualify professional drivers.”

Mrs Bell reminded operators that it is best practice to randomly test drivers and  pointed to increased enforcement by the police over the Christmas period.”