TOUGH new rules on drug abuse mean that train drivers could be dismissed for taking virtually any medicine.
Fresh regulations on drink are also much more stringent than those for motorists, with a limit of 30 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood as opposed to 80 under road traffic laws. Train drivers are advised to moderate their drinking before a morning shift even if the gap is between eight and 10 hours.
British Rail has advised the train drivers' union Aslef that its members could fail drug tests for taking medication which is freely available in chemist shops.
Advice from Terry Worrall, BR's director of operational standards warns that drivers' responsiveness can be impaired by drugs recommended for heart conditions, blood pressure, coughs, colds, flu, diabetes, epilepsy and other fits, musculo-skeletal problems, stomach and bowel disorders, anxiety, depression or "nerves", allergies, dizziness, vertigo, vision disorders and insomnia.
BR says that sleeping pills could show up in a drugs test because the drug stays in the brain for up to 24 hours. Any alcohol taken within that period would make the effect "far more potent". …