Effective from 1 April 2021 Victoria has introduced new laws for truck drivers. Previously the laws for a zero blood-alcohol limit for drivers of heavy vehicles greater than 15 tones applied, however this has been extended to drivers of heavy vehicles greater than 4.5 tonne (GVM).
This step has been taken by the Victorian Government to minimise the risks to heavy vehicle drivers, their passengers and other road users, by extending the zero blood alcohol (BAC) requirement to all heavy vehicle drivers.
Studies have shown that a BAC of .05 doubles the chances of being involved in an accident compared to a BAC of zero. Some drivers can be impaired from as little as .02 BAC. Alcohol is a depressant and as such it slows messages to the brain and slows response time.
Driving heavy vehicles is a complex task requiring concentration, judgment and decision making. These factors can be affected by alcohol with severe consequences for road users.
Drivers face harsh penalties if they are caught drink-driving.
The penalties for a truck driver who is over zero will be the same as those that currently apply to drivers based on their licence and legal limit. The penalty will differ depending on the BAC reading and other factors, but all offences will incur loss of licence, a mandatory behaviour change program and an alcohol interlock.
A Fact Sheet can be obtained from the VicRoads website:
This legislative change is an ideal opportunity for employers to review their relevant policies and procedures (e.g., Alcohol and Drugs Policy) to ensure it complies and to provide refresher training to your employees.
An Alcohol and Other Drugs resource can also be found on the VicRoads website:
Additionally, WR Law has a suite of policies and procedures which can be tailored to suit your business’ needs.
This article has been prepared for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific circumstances, please contact WR Law directly on (03) 5499 6131 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org