Following two consultations the limits for 16 different drugs - eight prescription drugs and eight illicit drugs - have now been agreed. The limits are not set at zero, as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects, but they are in line with the government’s ’zero tolerance’ approach to drug driving. The limits also vary to reflect the different speeds at which drugs are broken down within the body. The illicit drugs covered by the legislation include: cocaine, cannabis, ketamine, ecstacy, heroin and morphine. The prescription drugs include; diazepan, methedone, morphine and temazepan. A full list can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-approval-for-driving-limits-for-16-drugs. Penalties for those caught driving above the limit for these drugs will be a maximum of six months’ imprisonment and / or a fine up to £5,000 and an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.
With the new drug driving offence set to be introduced later this year, organisations must ensure that employees are aware of the new rules. Failure to do this, with the possibility of an automatic ban and imprisonment for an employee, could result in potential reputational damage for your organisation.
These tips will help you raise awareness amongst your employees:-
- Introduce a new drug driving policy in consultation with employees to gain their support and understanding.
- Educate employees about the new legislation and the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you intend to use drug testing, ensure permission to do this is included in employees’ contracts.
- Provide awareness training to help managers identify signs of possible alcohol or drug abuse.
- Regularly refresh and repeat training and awareness programmes for both employees and managers to reduce the risks.
- Offer a support mechanism such as an employee assistance programme for employees who may need help or advice on drug or drink related problems.