The season of goodwill has been spotted coming over the horizon with firms getting ready for their Christmas parties. With the country deep in recession, costs have been cut and many parties are being organised for midweek to save costs. How many companies are thinking about how their staff are going to get to work the following day or be asked to undertake deliveries in company vehicles?

Suffolk Constabulary say on their website that on average 3,000 people a year are killed or seriously injured in drink-drive collisions with their being no safe advice for avoiding a negative breath test. The only advice is not to drink.

If you employ drivers to drive for you, then take the opportunity to drive the message home about drink and driving. You should be aware of your duties under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Transport and Works Act 1992, where drivers of road vehicles must not be under the influence of alcohol while driving, attempting to drive or when they are in charge of a vehicle.

Do you have procedures in place for both briefing staff on their responsibilities and for identifying when someone should not be driving? Have a clause in your staff handbook about the problems with alcohol and substance abuse, offering advice and counseling but also reminding all employees about the penalties they would incur if subject you to the company’s disciplinary policy. A well written policy will allow you to randomly test employees for levels of alcohol in their blood

Driving any vehicle is difficult enough in good conditions; as seasonal weather closes in the related dangers increase – play your part by making sure your staff adopt your policies in being extra vigilant of the condition of their company vehicles and undertake their daily vehicle checks. As an employer you have a responsibility to your staff to provide them with equipment in a safe condition – get your staff to play their part and tell you promptly when defects need to be rectified, e.g. tyre replacement; have a practical but robust vehicle defect reporting procedure which will assist in making sure you that vehicles are roadworthy and safe to use.