Information for commercial drivers
Alcohol and other drug-related issues can occur in any industry, occupation or workplace. They can affect working relationships, work performance and occupational health and safety, including impairing a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle safely.
Even small amounts of alcohol and other drugs can impair concentration, coordination and other factors needed for safe driving.
Fatigue and reduced concentration can be a major problem for commercial drivers. The only safe way to reduce fatigue is to pull over and sleep. This will leave you feeling refreshed and able to safely continue on your journey.
Some commercial drivers may use stimulant drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine to keep them alert. This is dangerous as it increases the risk of an accident occurring.
A driver who has recently used drugs such as cannabis or an amphetamine-based substance (like speed) is reportedly at the same risk of having a crash as someone with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.051 (Arrive Alive 2008).
Workplace legislation states that there is an occupational health and safety responsibility on the part of employers, to ensure that they provide a safe working environment. To find out more, read our fact sheet 'Alcohol and the workplace: the rights and responsibilities of employers'.
Employees, however, also have a duty of care to ensure, and take responsibility for, their own safety. They are also obliged to look after the safety of others in the workplace and not endanger their lives. This includes the use of alcohol and other drugs. To find out more, read our fact sheet 'Alcohol and the workplace: the rights and responsibilities of employees'.
The best way to prevent alcohol and drug-related health and safety problems is to avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs before or during work hours.
Factors both at, and outside, work can contribute to alcohol or other drug use. It is important that you are aware of any stressors that may lead to alcohol or drug use. These may include:
Driving safely requires the driver to pay close attention to many things at once, and to be able to react quickly when something unexpected happens. A driver needs to be mentally alert, to have clear vision, physical coordination and the ability to react appropriately. If you have a health problem that requires medicine, it is important to tell your doctor that you are a commercial driver so that the appropriate medicine and dosage can be administered.
In some instances people may be taking several different medicines at once, or using alcohol or other drugs that could interact with their medicines. Mixing drugs can reduce the effectiveness of the medicines and have some unpleasant side effects. To find out more, read our fact sheet 'Medications and safe driving'.
For commercial drivers it is an offence, in most states and territories in Australia, to drive with any alcohol in your system. That is, you must have a BAC of 0.00. Some states allow commercial drivers to have a BAC level up to 0.02, however it is advisable not to drink at all if you want to stay under 0.02 BAC.Find out more in our fact sheet 'The facts about roadside drug testing'.
Arrive Alive 2008 'Random roadside drug testing' (accessed 6 June 2011)
Last updated: 30 January 2013
The following content is from DrugInfo dot ADF dot org dot au
Information you heard is intended as a general guide only. This audio is copyrighted by the Australian Drug Foundation. Visit www.DrugInfo.ADF.org.au for more