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Drink Driving - Bad For Business

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A conviction could prove disastrous for your business

A drink driving conviction can have catastrophic consequences for an individual. The loss of their driving licence, coupled with a large fine and even possible jail time can hugely impact on the day to day life of those that are convicted. Here however we look beyond the individual penalties and problems and at how drink driving convictions can impact on a business. Seldom is an individual affected in isolation, and the ramifications can be very far-reaching indeed.


Sole Traders

Obviously you are and the business are intrinsically linked, so what affects you will affect your business. If you literally are a one-man-band type outfit, here is what a conviction will mean.

You will get an automatic ban from driving of 12 months and it should be noted that these bans are none discretionary. There is no argument that there will be excessive hardship caused by a ban, as there is in cases of totting up offences, such as speeding. If this is a second conviction, the ban could extend to three years.

In addition there will be a fine, and the possibility of a custodial sentence. However, mitigating circumstances can be presented to the Court in these categories by a drink driving solicitor and therefore it is always suggested that you seek expert advice and help, as well as representation, at the first possible opportunity.  They will not be able to save your licence, but they will be able to help in other areas.

If therefore you cannot drive for 12 months, can your business survive? Are you reliant on transport to carry equipment, tools or materials to sites or premises, if so, you will no longer be able to do this yourself. You will either have to hire a second person, or a mate, or miss out on opportunities. Even if you manage to survive for 12 months, you will be faced by the prospect of having an endorsed licence for up to 11 years, hugely inflated insurance premiums, and a criminal record. The totality of the situation could well mean that your business suffers irrevocable damage.


Employers and Employees

As an employer, if your employee has driving within their job description, and thereafter receives a conviction and subsequent ban, then this can be deemed to be gross misconduct and any contract of employment can be terminated immediately. Even where the only driving is to and from the office, if the employee cannot get to work, then they cannot argue that they are performing their duties, and where remote working is impossible or public transport is unreliable, then this may mean the end of their employment – even where this is not wanted. Even by getting a criminal record, the employment could be at risk.

If you do wish to try and assist the employee, then you may create a new role, or different responsibilities, but there is no obligation to do so. This may mean a renegotiation of the employment contract. Furthermore, if the employee had previous responsibilities that incorporated an element of driving, then you will need to somehow delegate that to another person, or hire another employee. In times of austerity, when businesses are all under monetary pressures, increasing the wage bill or workload of the firm to accommodate the convicted person, may not be well received by the firm as a whole, or other employees. There is certainly the risk of disharmony.

For the employee, as a driver, you have lost your reason for employment as you can no longer do it. You may not be able to get to work at all, or you may not be able to justify a new role. The difficulties created are numerous, and the risk is that you will be seen as a liability.

The impact of a drink driving conviction is immense, but it goes way beyond the individual. Drink driving penalties are severe and can effectively end or seriously dent your employment prospects, and even the most sympathetic employer will have to absorb a cost to keep you. In larger organisations this may be possible, but as the size of the firm is reduced, there are less places where you can be moved, and often it will result in you moving on altogether.