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In the UK, it’s surprising to know how many people are unaware of the fact that there are few regulations in place requiring mandatory drug and alcohol testing among bus companies, haulage firms, and other organisations utilising large and heavy vehicles. That will change in the future if one UK company has anything to say about it.

ScreenSafe, a Stanford-based company offering workplace drug and alcohol screening, says the law in the UK needs to change. A recent case from the United States only serves to bolster their arguments. According to Fleet News, the case revolves around a Boston-based bus company that was caught hiring drivers before the results of their drug and alcohol screening were completed.

In the US, drivers are required to pass pre-employment screens before they are hired. By not waiting for the results, the bus company was in violation of law. They were also potentially risking the lives of other drivers on the road by making it possible for current drug and alcohol users to get behind the wheel of a bus.

Obviously, simply having a bus driving licence does not preclude an individual from such aberrant behaviour. ScreenSafe officials and other industry experts suggest it probably happens in this country more often than we would like to think. They also suggest it is impossible for a haulage or transport company to boast a drug and alcohol-free work force if it does not have a comprehensive testing system in place.

The American bus company was forcibly shut down for their violations. In the UK, it’s hard to imagine that happening unless a company demonstrated a serious problem through multiple serious accidents. However, it should never come to that. According to ScreenSafe, the time has come for the UK to implement mandatory drug and alcohol testing among commercial drivers.

Learning to Drive a Bus

Learning to drive a bus or coach is a serious business. Unlike the replaceable cargo transported by the average HGV, the ‘human cargo’ entrusted to the care of a bus driver is irreplaceable. That’s why earning a PCV license requires some additional training not included for HGV drivers.

When a driver earns a bus license, he or she is qualified to operate school buses, motor coaches and other types of passenger carrying vehicles over and above minibuses. Passengers on these vehicles trust their drivers to be safe and legal at all times. That includes refraining from drug and alcohol use. It is likely very few passengers would ever board a bus if they knew the driver was actively using drugs or alcohol.

The HGV Training Centre takes the time to stress drug and alcohol issues among those receiving training in one of our facilities. We expect each and every driver to take the matter seriously, whether they are driving HGVs or PCVs. Road safety starts in our classroom; we expect it to be carried on once drivers are licensed and employed. If that’s an approach you appreciate for your fleet training, contact us today.

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