What is the alcohol limit for train drivers?

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by PaxmanValenta, 25 Apr 2015.

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  1. PaxmanValenta

    PaxmanValenta Member

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    What is the alcohol limit if you're a train driver? Is it the same for motorists at 35 mg of breath.

    Also are there different limits depending on passenger services, freight or shunting on sidings?

    What is the penalty for being over the limit? Can you be banned, receive a criminal conviction etc?
     
  2. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

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    I believe it is a big fat 0 - or at least close to it. Over the limit and you lose your job first, questions later - eg most recent Northern Line strike. If you somehow manage to book on, get passed the various managers, and take control of a train, then i believe that jail is a likelihood. Unfortunately, the last known drunk train driver took his own life before the judicial progress began (Jubilee line T/Op)
     
  3. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It won't be zero as it's possible to have some alcohol in your bloodstream even if you haven't actually had a drink. But you are certainly correct it is a very low level which I believe is 29mg per 100ml of blood but I'm happy to be corrected on that.
     
  4. casualobserver

    casualobserver Member

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  5. PaxmanValenta

    PaxmanValenta Member

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  6. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Yes it applies to all safety critical workers.
     
  7. Jamesb1974

    Jamesb1974 Member

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    And to anyone who wants to keep their job.
     
  8. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Some TOCs apply it to all staff, even office based.
     
  9. scaper28

    scaper28 Member

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    how is this even a question? if your judgement or reactions are impaired in anyway why would you want to put yourself / others at risk?
     
  10. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

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    The OP did not say he was a driver. If he was, then he would know the drugs and acohol policy.

    It was a question, he didn't say he was going to drive a train after having a drink!
     
  11. W230

    W230 Established Member

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    Its also a criminal offence like drink driving and you can make it all the way to prison if found guilty.

    Under Transport and Works Act 1992.
     
  12. tlionhart

    tlionhart Member

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    29mg per 100ml (blood)
    The consequences of exceeding this is instant dismissal. The rule applies to ALL employees including any staff working on railway property. (Cleaners, station food sellers, i.e Burger King, upper crust, etc!)
    Also popping into a store to buy alcohol is also a breach of alcohol policy. It's a very strict and a big no no. Also you breach it if your done for drink driving behind the wheel. If an incident occurred whilst under the infulance of D&A you will easily go to prison. If your pulled up for a random then your sacked, you won't be allowed near the railway for 5yrs
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  13. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    Bear in mind that the legal limits imposed by the TWA or the group standards can be more generous than the limits imposed by your employer.
     
  14. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    It's 22 (microgrammes, like the 35 in the rest of the UK for breath) in Scotland for motorists... meddling SNP...
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  15. tlionhart

    tlionhart Member

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    It's actually 13micrograms (for breath) also there are 3 detection levels. Blood, urine and breath. All figures are different. So 29mg for blood, 13 for breath and can't remember detection for urine. (for railway staff. A point made by the above poster, TOC or FOC can stricken that rule. Motorist alcohol limit is well and truly generous in comparison. (If you live in England and Wales. I know Scotland changed theirs.)
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  16. PaxmanValenta

    PaxmanValenta Member

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    I agree I am the OP and don't yet work for any railway companies. So I'm just curious :)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Wow that's pretty strict even having alcohol limits on catering and retail, staff!
     
  17. Gemz91

    Gemz91 Member

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    Not too difficult if you book on by phone early in the morning, at some places you could easily go a couple of weeks without seeing a manager (although IF a train driver did seem under the influence, I'd expect any member of railway staff to deal with it appropriately, whether a manager, guard of catering crew).
     
  18. E&W Lucas

    E&W Lucas Established Member

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    Except that the latest standards require unannounced screening.
    You book on by 'phone, as you describe, you're required to speak to control, who advise you that instead of spending the next 9 hours 57 minutes driving, it's off to see Mr Medscreen, for drug and alcohol testing.

    There is no warning.

    It's important that any prospective railway staff realise that there is no tolerance of drug use, and that they must be able to control their consumption of alcohol.
     
  19. Saltire

    Saltire Member

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    YES! That pesky SNP, keeping our roads safer! Tsk Tsk
     
  20. WCMLaddict

    WCMLaddict Member

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    The bolded part might be truth at your TOC but is not an industry standard or nationwide policy.
     
  21. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I was dismayed as a young management trainee with LT and out with a District Inspector at Hammersmith when a Picc train came in, doors opened then the train proceeded to creep back about half a carriage length over about five to ten seconds. The DI shouted (we were on the District Line part of the platform )and the driver seemed to awake from a slumber. The DI just asked if he was alright, received a mumbled reply, and let him go on his way. When the DI saw my quizzical look, he said he didn't want to play a part in the driver possibly losing his job, besides which he was a District DI, not a Piccadilly one, and not far short of retirement, so wanted an easy life. This has remained with me for over forty years, just glad that the incident didn't lead to anything worse. Brought into focus last night in Penzance when an (apparently) drunk driver collided with several stationary cars in my road, my own car would have been amongst them if I'd not moved it an hour beforehand. A citizen's arrest followed (well, several citizens actually) as the police were too busy to attend for a while.
     
  22. W230

    W230 Established Member

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    And to be more of a pedant (sorry!) the measurements are actually mg (milligrammes) in blood or urine and μg (microgrammes) in breath! ;)
     
  23. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    They are calculated to be equivalent, so normally someone with one level in blood should have the equivalent in urine and breath. This means that the pass or fail would be the same for a given level of alcohol, irrespective of the means of test.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The roads were safe enough before, the SNP just wants to sterilise them.
     
  24. Llama

    Llama Member

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    Not strictly correct. Some companies' policies differ. You won't usually be in breach of your company's D&A policy if you are charged with drink driving unless you don't inform your company, or unless the journey you were making was to travel to work with the intention of starting duty. *edit - WCMLaddict beat me to it
    As an example of how policies differ, it is not actually a breach of my TOC's D&A policy to purchase alcohol in closed containers whilst in uniform.
    I spent the majority of last year briefing the D&A policy of my TOC as part of company safety briefs. One of our drivers (working for out franchise's predecessor) was charged with drink driving in 2004 by the police, in the early hours of the morning, when he was involved in a road traffic collision and breathalysed. He had told the attending officer that he was on his way to work, and was in uniform. He didn't keep his job. If he had instead said he was on the way to the supermarket for example he might just have kept his livelihood.
    In the last ten years there has been at least a dozen incidents of safety critical staff losing their jobs through excess alcohol at a certain TOC, these are incidences of which I am personally aware. It might surprise you that the claim of 'not being allowed near the railway for five years' is clearly not accurate based on the fact that one of them went to work on the infrastructure maintenance side straight away and is actually now back working for the TOC in question, albeit as a contractor.
     
    Last edited: 27 Apr 2015
  25. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    If he has that sort of attitude it's good he wasn't allowed to continue driving trains!
     
  26. Llama

    Llama Member

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    Yes, I agree, likely to be very poor lifestyle management.
     
  27. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Indeed so. This is the case for at least one TOC I know of.
     
  28. Sidious

    Sidious Member

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    It's not pedantic, it's an absolutely critical difference. 35mg is 3500μg - 1000 times more.

    The legal prescribed limits are prescribed under s.38(2)(a)to(c) Transport and Works Act 1992, and are 35μg alcohol/100ml breath, 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and 107mg alcohol/100ml urine.

    Any limits lower than these including the 13μg alcohol / 100ml breath limit mentioned elsewhere in the thread are industry imposed limits. I don't work in the rail industry so I have no idea what the sanctions are for breaching them, but it would not result in criminal prosecution.
     
  29. PaxmanValenta

    PaxmanValenta Member

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    "Also popping into a store to buy alcohol is also a breach of alcohol policy"

    So if you're a train driver and you buy some cans of beer or bottle of wine to stick in your rucksack for when you get back home then having this rucksack with you in the loco cab while your driving, would be an offence?
     
  30. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    Not a criminal offence, but possibly(probably) forbidden by an employer's rules.
     
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