Clear Mind, Safe Body

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How does distracted driving and cannabis legislation affect you?

There’s new legislation in Canada that should have tire shops and commercial vehicle drivers on alert. I’m talking about the new distracted driving laws, as well as the recent legalization of cannabis.

Anyone who drives a service truck needs to be on their game since the distracted driving fines for drivers with A to G licences are particularly harsh. You can face bigger penalties than drivers of passenger vehicles, which are already tough.

For example, depending on the province, drivers can face fines of up to $1,000 and a three-day suspension just for the first conviction. Drivers with these licences can be fined up to $2,000 and a seven-day suspension for the second conviction, while a third conviction carries a fine of up to $3,000 and a 30-day suspension.

So your wallet takes a pounding twice, once with a fine, and then with a suspension. Let’s face it, if you can’t drive, you can’t get work and get paid.

Distractions defined

The new laws define distracted driving as simply holding an electronic device in your hands because hand-held communication during driving is against the law. That includes using a cellphone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists. In fact, it even includes eating! In B.C., the RCMP have warned that eating a bowl of soup amounts to driving without due care. And even having a cellphone sitting on the seat next to you within grabbing distance can be penalized.

It also counts reading books or documents and typing a destination into your GPS as distracted driving.

What can you do? Plenty. First of all, if you’re not already using a hands-free device with Bluetooth, it’s time to level up. And use mounted devices, but make sure they’re properly secured.

Your livelihood depends on being able to drive your service vehicle. In addition to endangering yourself and those around you, is it worth the risk to text your buddy about last night’s game? Losing your licence is going to hurt, and does your record no favours. You depend on your licence for your job.

Under the influence

As far as cannabis goes, it’s your job not to be under the influence if you’re behind the wheel or working in a tire shop. As a tire tech, you’ve got a dangerous job, whether you’re working with car tires, truck tires or large truck tires. You have to be on your game.

In a tire shop, you’re dealing with heavy equipment and frankly, other people’s lives. They’re depending on you to put the tires on correctly, and to make sure the tires are safe and roadworthy. Your mind needs to be clear because people are depending on you.

That goes for your co-workers, too, as well as any consumers who are in your store. So everyone needs to be aware, and everyone needs to share the responsibility, right? If there’s one employee who appears to be under the influence, that needs to be addressed for everyone’s sake.

It may be time for shop owners to examine their policies around drug and alcohol use. Everyone needs to work together to avoid the risk of cannabis impairment, whether that means updating workplace policies, ongoing education efforts, or providing procedures for reporting anything that may pose a hazard in the shop.

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