Incident is latest in 'alarming trend' of drivers facing discipline for drug or alcohol use Amy O'Brian Vancouver Sun
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
LOWER MAINLAND - Two Lower Mainland bus drivers have been suspended after they were caught by police Sunday evening with a lit marijuana joint as they were heading to work.
The incident marks the third time in six months that Lower Mainland bus drivers have been caught using drugs or alcohol before or during a shift.
Doug McDonald, spokesman for the Coast Mountain Bus Company, said Sunday's incident indicates "an alarming trend" that has no clear explanation, but reiterated that the company has zero tolerance for substance use on the job.
McDonald said the two drivers --who have both been with the company for about four years -- were in a personal vehicle when they were pulled over by the RCMP at about 5 p.m. Sunday near the Port Mann bridge.
Police discovered the joint and slapped the driver with a 24-hour-roadside suspension, then called the Coast Mountain Bus Company to inform supervisors of the employees' indiscretion.
Both bus drivers were prohibited from working their Sunday shifts and have been suspended until the company finishes its investigation.
"If it's determined there's been a breach of policy, they could suffer discipline up to and including dismissal," McDonald said.
The two drivers caught in recent months for having alcohol in their systems while on the job were both fired.
"A third incident clearly is really disturbing," McDonald said.
"It really hurts the 2,600 other drivers that are out there."
McDonald was at a loss for an explanation for the cluster of drug and alcohol-related incidents and said there are programs in place to deal with substance abuse, such as counselling and "attendance management."
He said the company has been in touch with the drivers' union to discuss possible new measures to mitigate the problem.
Random drug and alcohol testing has been considered in the past and McDonald said it may be looked at again, but there are constitutional issues with the practice that are difficult to work around.
At the moment, drivers can be tested for drugs or alcohol if there is reason to believe they are under the influence, but random testing is not practised, McDonald said.
The two drivers who were fired previously were both given 24-hour roadside suspensions by Vancouver police while on the job.
(c) The Vancouver Sun 2005
2005 The Vancouver Sun