Updated: Jan 29
Current guidance on drug driving is either unavailable or outdated says Ean Lewin MD of D.tec International. Ean is now urging industry to consider if what they have in place is enough to deter employees from drug driving to ultimately reduce fatalities on our roads?
“There are more drugs on our roads than drink” says Ean Lewin MD of D.tec International. “Since the introduction of Section 5a of The Road Traffic Act back in March 2015 I have watched as annual drug drive arrest figures have surged. Each year I am left shocked as the statistics ramp up, with most recent figures calculated to be 40 to 50 times more than pre s5a.”
As supplier to all 44 police forces throughout England, Scotland, and Wales, Ean appreciates he is in a unique position as he notes “he is all too aware of the scale of our countries problem with Drug driving.”
“You might think things would have slowed this year given the fact we are in the middle of a third national lockdown” He says. “Sadly, this is not the case, as it appears those choosing to drive are taking more risks that ever.” Essex Police saw 2 ½ to 3 times more drug arrests then drink offences during the first lockdown.
Ean runs through the stats collated in early 2020 noting that in 2019 “Merseyside police arrested over 2000 drivers on drug driving offences, which is significant. Terrifyingly, over 50% of those arrested were at work, driving, or drove for work in some way.”
is the highest consumer of illegal drugs in Europe. One in Eight employees under the age of 35 have admitted to smoking cannabis whilst one in fourteen of all employees have too.
All employees in employment
Employees under 35
“If society is struggling to get this problem under control, then it stands to reason that businesses will be affected through no fault of their own, we are not immune to the problem.”
“So what can industry do to make our roads safer?” asks Ean. The vast majority of businesses responsibly prioritise employee safety above all else despite outdated guidance.
“We work with many fleet operators who are spending hundreds, or thousands of pounds installing telematics that improve fuel efficiency, monitor vehicle performance and track driver behaviours.”
But is that truly adequate to ensure the person behind the wheel of your asset is fit to do their job safely? “A risk assessment or fit to drive self-declaration is not nearly enough, who is going to admit to being unfit to drive when their livelihood depends on it?” Most importantly often times drug users do not understand the lasting impact that the cannabis they had the night before is having on their reaction times for up to a week later, or the fact the cocaine they took on Saturday is causing them to drive more erratically come Monday morning.
“With this in mind I ask that industry does better, for their businesses, their employees and the wider public. Whether Corporate Social Responsibility, or employee welfare, or to prevent directors and managers being prosecuted under Corporate Manslaughter etc. Act with personal fines and potential prison sentences.
Be clear of one thing, a plead to the judge of ‘naivety due to lack of experience’ is not an excuse to turn a blind eye and will not help you personally when at trial some 2 or 3 years post the incident.”
Ean added “After 25 years of helping Police forces and businesses tackle this issue and whilst lobbying other professional bodies like CILT, RHA... CLOC’s and FORS and Ministers, MP’s, DfT and their transport safety advisory body PACTS for new legislation, I hope industry can work together to set a gold standard that deters drug using risk takers from failing to properly carry out their duties and putting you and others in harm’s way. It is all about saving lives and reducing serious injury.