Avoid the ‘morning after’ drink-driving risk this ChristmasJoe Howick
With December just around the corner the festive party season is about to kick-off, along with the increased risk of drink-driving.
According to a report from the Department for Transport (DfT), an estimated 5,770 drink-drive accidents took place in the UK last year. Although this figure has reduced significantly from 19,470 since records first began in 1979, there is still much work to be done to reduce these accidents even further.
DfT statistics also show that ‘morning after’ offences accounted for over 20% of all drink-driving prosecutions in 2015 and data from a Think! anti-drink-driving campaign reported an estimated 5,500 people fail breath tests between 6:00am and midday every year.
Surprisingly, company car drivers are ‘twice as likely’ to drink-drive the morning after a Christmas party compared with private vehicle owners, according to a survey conducted by the RAC.
These findings clearly show the lack of awareness among drivers who assume they can drink alcohol to excess and get behind the wheel of a car the morning after, without any risk to themselves or others.
This problem is compounded by the fact that many companies arrange their office parties on week nights, expecting staff to turn up bright and breezy for work the next day.
Although employees have a responsibility to ensure they enjoy themselves without putting lives at risk, employers also have an important duty of care to consider how their employees will get home. If an accident is caused following a work-related event due to drink driving, employers may be held accountable.
Provide tips and guidance to staff in advance of the event about the dangers and consequences of drink driving, and encourage them to think ahead about how they will travel home.
Ensure a plentiful supply of alcohol-free drinks and consider hiring minibuses or coaches to leave at set times during the event, or provide telephone numbers for local reputable taxi firms.
There are some useful resources available online to help businesses manage the risks of staff driving under the influence of alcohol.
RoSPA’s Driving for Work: drink and drugs guide outlines the necessary policies and procedures businesses should have in place to meet their duty of care responsibilities. A sample ‘policy’ is included in the guide, which can be adapted to suit an organisation’s needs.
Brake, the road safety charity also provides useful tools and advice, including a fact sheet, infographic, e-learning tool, downloadable posters, videos and a ‘morning after calculator’ to estimate when it’s safe to drive after drinking the night before.
If your staff know what is expected from them and you’ve taken all reasonable measures to ensure their safety you can sit back, relax and enjoy the party.