Opinion: Take the drugs out of traffic management, not the people

Darren Clark - Operations Director

It seems that misusing drugs has become more acceptable in recent times.

It’s socially unacceptable to drink and drive, as people are acutely aware of the risk to themselves and others. So, why is it that taking drugs and driving appears to carry less weight?

Not only is it a criminal offence to possess and trade illegal substances – it aids the growth of drug-dealing gangs and accompanying violence – but drug abuse causes significant, long-lasting damage to a person’s health and wellbeing.

Unfortunately, traffic – like most industries – has felt the effect of drug use. The safety of our team and the public are at the absolute forefront of all that we do. Therefore, it’s our responsibility as a company to educate and support everyone in our business so that they understand the seriousness of drug use.

Facing the issue

tbf Traffic is not on a moral crusade. However, we do have to address the issue of drugs, and our attitude is simple: zero tolerance.

Traffic operatives cannot work on high-risk roads, where their safety and that of the public is of paramount importance, under the influence of illegal drugs.

But we have invested in our people – in training them and educating them in our business ethos – and it is important that we are ethical, caring and understanding. We do not want to remove people from our business, we want to work with them

We accept that people have personal challenges like mental health struggles, debt, family breakdowns and gambling. Many people who turn to drug use are productive, loyal and motivated in all other areas. We will help these people to overcome their misuse of drugs.

No shortcuts

This is a difficult topic, but it’s an important one.

Our drug tests are robust. It is, of course, essential that we remove any operatives from working on sites if they’re found using drugs. But we will always strive to avoid the instant dismissal route.

It is better for the individual, for our business and for society that we invest in removing the drug problem – not the person.