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79% of young people do not know the legal drink drive limit

According to research by RED Driving School, the UK’s largest driving school, most young people do not know what the legal drink drive limit is.

Alcohol consumption in Britain increases by 40 per cent in December*, with 54 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women expected to drink over the recommended guidelines** during the festive period.

Recent statistics revealed that more drivers aged between 20 and 24 are failing breath tests than any other age group and one fifth of drivers admit to risking drink driving. RED’s research shows that one of the main reasons behind this is that more than three quarters of young drivers are unaware of the legal drink drive limit, rather than irresponsible attitudes towards driving.

To gain a better understanding of young drivers’ attitudes towards drink driving, RED Driving School commissioned independent research among 1000 young people aged between 17 and 24, which highlighted shocking gaps in education and young driver awareness of the drink driving issue.

  • 79 per cent of young people do not know the legal drink drive limit.
  • One third of young people have witnessed their parents drive following the consumption of alcohol.
  • One in five young people would never plan to drink and drive but say that sometimes the unexpected does happen.

The research also revealed that, according to young people, drink driving is more likely to occur in the North of the UK. When asked if drink driving is more socially acceptable in certain regions, the North of England, Scotland and rural areas were the most cited. Some of the reasons for this include the perception that public transport is poorer, there are fewer police officers and a lower population, which they believe reduces risk.

Drivers aged between 17-24 years of age are statistically more likely to have a drink driving related accident per mile driven. ***

Despite this, when asked if they would travel as a passenger alongside someone who had consumed alcohol, over 40 per cent said that they would not take that risk even if they were a close friend or family member.

Ian McIntosh, CEO at RED Driving School commented: “While the research has revealed a serious need for more young driver education around drink driving and what the legal drink drive limit is, it has highlighted some positive statistics that show that young people are responsible drivers and consider their safety on the road.

“The majority (62 per cent) of young people would not let the fact that their parents drink and drive affect their own decision and a further 25 per cent stated that they would be less likely to drink and drive if their parents did.

However, the statistics were not all positive, as worryingly one third of young people would let factors such as the expense of taxis and the convenience of driving, influence their decision to drive after consuming alcohol.  In addition to this, one in five admits that they would not completely rule out drink driving, should the unexpected happen.

McIntosh continued: “At RED, we believe that not only do young people need to be taught a safe driving style, but they need more clarity on issues such as drink driving in order to prepare them for the roads.

“It is promising to learn that the majority of young people have safe attitudes towards drink driving, however it is vital that they are informed of simple facts such as the drink driving limit.”

RED Driving School teaches over 100,000 learner drivers each year and has over 1,600 driving instructors on the roads.