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Alcohol dependence

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  • Alcohol dependence

    Morning, my friend is an hgv driver and has worked with his present company for 26 years. He had his medical last year without any concerns being flagged up. Suddenly out of the blue he received a letter informing him that his licences have been suspended due to alcohol dependency. I know there will be a few posters who will reply that abstinence is the only way and that drink driving is the act of the devil but before you send that reply bear in mind he takes his responsibilities seriously and doesn’t drink before he has to work and he has never failed any medical or breath tests and has no convictions. His bosses are behind him because of his unblemished record so what does he need to do to clear this up promptly? This seems to me that someone has become lawman , judge , jury and punisher without evidence.
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  • #2
    Hi Meellis,
    No judgment but do need a little more info about the reason for withdrawal of his licence. You mention his work medical last year was this long ago and do the company performing the medical have access to your friend's medical records (which he would have had to consent to).

    Has he had annual medicals for years? Is this the first time his dependency has been mentioned or were they aware before this most recent check? Is this the first time he has mentioned any dependency?
    Is it a new company carrying out the medicals? It appears that there is a blanket reporting criteria for drug and alcohol dependencies? Has something happened that has brought the dependency to the fore recently?

    I have found the following which dictates medical professionals duties where they come across alcohol dependency situations and the individual holds an HGV licence. It may be something as simple as once the medical person who performed the medical was aware of the diagnosis they are legally obliged to act informing DVLA. So maybe not judge and jury but legal obligation I'm afraid.
    Here is the gov't site explaining the duties of medical professionals when they are aware of alcohol and drug dependence. The rules would appear stricter where HGV licences and buses are concerned: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/drug-or-...tness-to-drive
    Last edited by Peridot; 8th January 2019, 14:43:PM. Reason: Found further info
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

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    • #3
      Thanks Peridot, The medical he had last summer was for his hgv renewal and there was nothing noted. He went to see his doctor yesterday with the letter and the doctor has signed him off sick for a week to buy some time so it doesn't sound like the doctor had any concerns, his bosses are totally behind him so they don't sound as though they have had any concerns. The letter has just come completely out of the blue and doesn't really explain much, you would have thought that they would have to produce the reason why they have been bound to serve this penalty.

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      • #4
        Problem is that anyone can report a driver to the DVLA directly and anonymously.
        The DVLA will then take precautionary measures to protect the public, and the unfortunate driver then has to(figuratively) jump through hoops backwards to regain his licence.

        One of my friends was reported anonymously for suffering from blackouts. He didn't but he still had his licence revoked for about 3 months before he could get it back.

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        • #5
          My friends daughter had to have a medical to renew her licence and when the doctor asked her if she drank, her mum piped up and said she binge drank at weekends. Her licence was revoked and it took her 6 months to get it back.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replies, even though I understand why they would be cautionary (DVLA) I still feel it is off. The village where we live hasn't the greatest transport links, like most villages, so now he has to find a way to and from work in a town 15 miles away. He starts at 4 in the morning by the way so it wouldn't matter how good transport was. I am sure the insurance companies will pound him now if he gets his licence sorted and the company he works for will have to work around him or I suppose an employed driver without a licence is a bloke looking for a new job. You wold have thought random testing while investigating the allegations would have been more in keeping with innocent until proven guilty. I think, like credit reference agencies and the like, some pen pushers take to lightly how they can destroy someone's life.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by des8 View Post
              Problem is that anyone can report a driver to the DVLA directly and anonymously.
              The DVLA will then take precautionary measures to protect the public, and the unfortunate driver then has to(figuratively) jump through hoops backwards to regain his licence.

              One of my friends was reported anonymously for suffering from blackouts. He didn't but he still had his licence revoked for about 3 months before he could get it back.
              That's well out of order if DVLA are acting on anonymous tip offs and effectively banning people from driving affecting livelihoods. It's bad enough (but maybe understandable) when it's just the Doctors word that causes a licence to be revoked. We're slowly moving to having to prove our innocence, rather than being proven guilty.

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              • #8
                It may seem harsh but the ramifications for those who do not report and then something awful happens would be just as disastrous for them professionally too. Unfortunately it affects those who would not be an issue but where do you draw the line?
                I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Peridot View Post
                  It may seem harsh but the ramifications for those who do not report and then something awful happens would be just as disastrous for them professionally too. Unfortunately it affects those who would not be an issue but where do you draw the line?
                  You draw the line by following a proper legal process, not just revoking someones licence and ultimately their career on an anonymous tip off.
                  If something awful happens then there is a justice system that's tried and tested to deal with the offender.

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                  • #10
                    When he went through his medical was anything disclosed on there that could have led to the decision ? Did he keep a copy ? If not I think he needs to be asking for a copy and asking the DVLA for details of their decision. Even if the Doctor had no concerned I think there's a question about how many units of alcohol per week and the DVLA's view on what's 'misuse' or 'dependency' seems to differ from a Doctors view - it's likely to have been when the form was reviewed by the DVLA that the revocation decision was made.
                    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jinxer View Post


                      If something awful happens then there is a justice system that's tried and tested to deal with the offender.
                      The DVLA will always err on the side of caution. Had they not acted on a tip off and someone was subsequently injured or worse, one might reasonably question why.

                      It's a difficult situation especially given that the subject drives for a living and I would advise that he asks his docter to write to DVLA with their view as to his suitability to drive.


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                      • #12
                        Turns out it seems he has been punished for being honest. Amethyst it is down to the units of alcohol question, he answered honestly last summer. Two months after his HGV licence was revoked and now, four months after they have decided to revoke his car licence. Even though I understand the need for caution on behalf of the DVLA my understanding is that he hasn't actually broken any laws like being caught driving while under the influence just some guidelines.So being honest about having a social drink outside of work is worse than lying and saying you don't drink at all.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any idea what he entered / said as Units ? Saw someone else mention 30 a week resulting in removal but I think the tipping point is 14 ( nhs guidance ). 14 is 6 pints. 30 is what 12/13 pints... so a couple a night , or one a night and a session on a Sunday afternoon for example .... not exactly alcohol dependency.
                          “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

                          Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                          Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                          If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                          Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

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                          • #14
                            The D4 form doesn't seem to ask the alcohol question so may have been in conversation with the doctor or elsewhere in medical notes ( as Jules just said if any injuries presented at hosp were due to inebriation ) He's having a look into it a bit more anyway ( as he's an hgv Driver too and has these medicals too he likely knows more than me )
                            “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

                            Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                            Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                            If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                            Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

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                            • #15
                              Doctors guidance https://assets.publishing.service.go...fessionals.pdf
                              “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

                              Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                              Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                              If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                              Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

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