Times are changing. Is your fleet policy keeping up?
Think of your fleet policy as a living document that evolves as laws and driver behaviors’ change. Ensuring it’s broad enough to protect your organization from various types of improper vehicle use while being specific enough to bring clarity to your guidelines will pave the road toward its efficacy.
To start, let’s define terms. The goal of a fleet policy is for drivers to understand expectations of themselves while they’re on the job. With that in mind, let’s explore how changing drug laws are impacting fleet and how to address them within your policy.
Fleet managers who were previously concerned with potential illegal drug use among drivers are putting focus on the misuse of legalized drugs. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2017 18 million people abused prescription opioids, depressants and stimulants.
Additionally, there’s the movement to legalize cannabis. Eleven states have already legalized the drug for recreational use while others have decriminalized or approved its medicinal use. Canada has also legalized cannabis nationally.
An incomplete fleet policy puts your organization at risk. The health of your drivers extends beyond safe driving. Driving impaired is also a component. As a result, it’s important to have a thorough conversation with various stakeholders at your organization about which legal drugs they might limit or prohibit the use of while driving. Also, check with your legal department on what they may advise.
What to include in your fleet policy
Here are some phrasing tips and examples companies have used in their fleet policy.
Include broad definitions. Policy example: You may not be under the influence of a prohibited substance while driving a vehicle. A prohibited substance is a chemical agent that is inhaled, ingested, or applied that alters the body’s normal operating functions.
Provide clear instructions. Policy example: Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, sleep-inducing medication or performance affecting medication or with doctor’s restrictions.
Add guidance for prescribed medication. Policy example: All legal medications prescribed by a physician must be used in accordance with the physician’s guidance.