April 5, 2017

Information for commercial drivers

heavy vehicles and hi-vis

Australians are known for having a beer after a long day. But if you drive for work, having a few beers or taking drugs before driving can be dangerous to yourself and others on the road. Even small amounts to ‘unwind’ or wake you up can make you over-confident in your driving skill. Time out of the cab to exercise, ‘cat nap’, or to sleep is much safer than resorting to drugs to stay awake or improve your concentration.

Coping with fatigue

Fatigue and ‘drifting off’ can be a major problem for commercial drivers. Your only safe option is to pull over and sleep. This will leave you feeling refreshed and able to safely continue on your journey.

Some commercial drivers use stimulant drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine to keep them alert. This is dangerous as it increases the chances you will have an accident or crash.

Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees

Workplace legislation states that there’s an occupational health and safety responsibility on the part of employers, to ensure they provide a safe working environment.

However, employees also have a duty-of-care to be safe in the workplace. This includes looking after others’ safety in the workplace and not endangering their lives through the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Find out more about alcohol and other drugs in the workplace.

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.

Medications and your job

Driving safely requires you to pay close attention to many things at once, and to be able to react quickly when something unexpected happens. You need 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, you might be taking several medicines at once, or using alcohol or other drugs that could interact with your medicines. Mixing drugs can reduce the effectiveness of the medicines and have some unpleasant and dangerous side effects.

Random roadside testing

It is illegal in most Australian states and territories to drive with any alcohol in your system if you are a commercial driver. That is, you must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.00%.

Some states allow commercial drivers to have a BAC level up to 0.02%. Given this level is quite low, if you want to stay under 0.02% BAC, it is best not to drink at all.

Further information

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