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Information for commercial drivers

Coping with fatigue

Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees

Why would commercial drivers use alcohol and other drugs?

Good health and driving

Random roadside testing

Further information

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.

Coping with fatigue

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.

Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees

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.

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.

Find out more about alcohol and 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.

Why would commercial drivers use alcohol and other drugs?

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:

  • Shift work and long hours of work
  • Fear of losing job
  • Access to alcohol at work, or a culture that tolerates or encourages alcohol use during or after work hours
  • Inadequate training and supervisory support
  • Conflict with peers or supervisors
  • Unrealistic deadlines and performance targets, or inadequate resources
  • Marital or personal relationship problems
  • Financial problems
  • Health issues or concerns
  • Boredom


If you are worried about or stressed by your workload, chat to your employer, occupational health and safety officer, union representative or a professional drivers' group. See further information below.

Good health and driving

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'.

Random roadside testing

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'.

Further information

References

Transport Accident Commission. (n.d.) Drugs and Driving.

Last updated: 22 June 2016

    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