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Any new driver looking to obtain a commercial driving licence is required to undergo a standard HGV medical exam. Currently-licenced drivers must undergo subsequent exams on a regular basis in order to keep their licences. As part of the medical evaluation, doctors look for any signs or symptoms that would indicate drug or alcohol abuse.

Although some drivers believe that looking at drug and alcohol use is not appropriate for commercial drivers, reality says otherwise. Drink and drug driving are a dangerous practice in any vehicle, regardless of its size. But when it comes to lorries and other large, commercial vehicles, size and weight compound the danger considerably. We simply cannot afford to have HGV or PCV drivers on the road if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Interestingly, Fleet News UK recently published a report detailing the results of a Brake and Direct Line survey relating to drug driving. By gleaning data from this survey, we can offer you the following three reasons the HGV medical looks at, and should continue looking at, drug and alcohol abuse:

7% Admit to Driving After Taking Drugs

It is shocking to have to face facts, but 7% of survey respondents admitted to driving at least once a month after having taken drugs. Given the nature of human beings to be less than honest with these kinds of surveys, the actual percentage may very well be higher. Stop a minute and just let that sink in.

If 7% of the drivers on the road at any given time have taken drugs in the recent past, that means one in every 14 drivers you encounter could be impaired. Those are not very good odds. If one of those impaired drivers just happens to be driving a lorry, the results of any subsequent accident could be devastating.

8% Admit to Being the Passenger of a Drug User

The second good reason for the HGV medical looking at drug and alcohol abuse is the fact that some 8% of the survey respondents admitted that they were probably the passenger of a drug driver within the last year. In other words, some of these survey respondents were not entirely positive that they had ridden with a drug driver, but they were fairly confident they had. Why did they not do something to prevent it?

16% Say They Would Ride with a Drug Driver

Lastly, 16% of the survey respondents said they would ride in a car with a drug driver. That number is absolutely astounding. To know that one out of every six people would risk their lives in such a reckless way shows just how serious the drug problem is.

It is clear that drug and alcohol abuse is a very real problem among UK drivers. It should never be a problem for professionals. That is why the HGV medical looks at alcohol and drug use, just as it should.

Sources:

Fleet News UK – http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2016/03/01/one-in-14-drive-at-least-once-a-month-after-taking-drugs

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