Despite all the television adverts and campaigns, despite the fact that society has long since lost its supposed tolerance of drink driving, and despite the fact that individuals are aware of the risks and consequences, mistakes still happen, and drink driving is a fact of life.
Whether it be through a misunderstanding of your own limits or a miscalculation, or simply because you had a late night and an early start and got caught out the morning after the night before, convictions are a reality. The ramifications and impact of a simple and single mistake, however, are far from straightforward. They are far-reaching and will affect not only the driver, but their family, and of course their business – so what impact does drink driving have on business?
As an employee, you will have a contract of employment. The terms of that contract will no doubt include the requirement to attend work for set hours on set days, and may even include specific reference to driving – as with a delivery or lorry driver, for example.
However, before we can even undertake our employment duties, there is the getting to work. A criminal conviction, which by the way will have to be declared and will endorse your licence for 11 years, and a ban from driving may mean that you cannot even get to your place of work.
You may think that when faced with a possible drink driving ban that you can get your drink driving solicitor to put forward mitigation in the form of exceptional hardship from the loss of employment, but this is not a guaranteed outcome. And although DFR Solicitors have a 95% success rate in defending motorists, loss of employment alone is not enough to ensure a successful defence, and the threat of a driving ban remains.
So if you are banned and cannot get to work what then? Realistically, you will either have to rely on friends, family, colleagues or public transport. But if your job involves driving or you cannot get to work at all, then you will have committed a fundamental breach of your employment contract and will, as such, likely be subject to a disciplinary case based on gross misconduct, for which you can be immediately dismissed.
The Sole Trader
If you work alone, you will be in all sorts of trouble, especially if you work away from home, or on site, or your job requires transport. Short of hiring a driver, or shelving the business for the period of the ban, it could well signal the end of trading. The Institute of Advanced Motorists estimated that the cost of a ban, insurance, employability and other costs, would be between £20,000 and £50,000. Not many businesses can afford that type of impact.
As an employer, if an employee cannot get to work, or once at work cannot perform their duties as a result of a driving ban, then this is grounds for a dismissal based on gross misconduct. If you do not wish to follow this path, then it may be possible to rearrange the business, create new posts, or absorb the work amongst other employees – but that goodwill could quickly disappear once they realise why the changes have been implemented. It certainly puts even the most sympathetic boss in a dilemma.
Properly obtained convictions for drink driving will lead to a ban of 12 months or 3 years if it is the second conviction in 10 years. Therefore, if you are facing a possible drink driving conviction, it’s essential to receive guidance from a drink driving solicitor at the earliest opportunity.