Employers must ensure their Drug and Alcohol Policies are fit for purpose following changes to drug driving laws which came into force at the beginning of March.
From 2 March 2015 more stringent drug driving laws have been introduced in England and Wales. It is now illegal to drive when over specified limits for eight illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine and cannabis. The specified limits in relation to prescription drugs such as temazepam, diazepam and morphine are higher than those expected for normal therapeutic doses, meaning an individual may only drive while using these prescription drugs provided they are below the specified limit. Roadside testing will be used to establish whether any of the listed drugs are present, followed by forensic analysis of a blood sample taken at a police station to establish which drug is involved and the quantity in the blood.
Employers will need to check that any driving policies and substance misuse policies reflect this new position and provide the necessary flexibility to deal with an employee who falls foul of the law, including dismissal where appropriate. To avoid a finding of unfair dismissal, employers must ensure that their policies are up to date, that employees are aware of the standards expected of them and the implications of breaching those standards in relation to drug driving.
These changes will affect any employers’ whose staff are required to drive as part of their job, including supply businesses and those with mobile sales staff.