To many young drivers think they will not get caught if they drink and drive during this Christmas holiday period, according to a report published today by Brake and Green Flag Motoring Assistance.

The study looked at the opinions of older and younger drivers. The researchers found that younger drivers are twice as likely to believe there was absolutely no chance they would be caught drink-driving. The survey involved over 4,000 drivers. About 1 in every 12 drivers aged 17-25 thought they would never get caught if they drove under the influence of alcohol, compared to 1 in every 25 older drivers.

These findings coincide with a highly publicized Christmas police drive to check on drink drivers.

The research results also come as road safety campaigners prepare their responses to a Government consultation on ‘road safety compliance’ including enforcement of drink drivers. In this consultation, opinions are invited on targeted drink-drive check points by police – but do not go as far as proposing random drink-drive testing. Random checking would allow the police to breathalyse people without reason to suspect drink-driving. Police are only allowed to breathalyse drivers if they have a reason to suspect they are drunk, e.g. if they are driving unsteadily.

Brake is calling on the authorities to implement drink drive testing. Random testing has been successfully carried out in Australia and New Zealand – often conducted at strategic times, such as when clubs close late at night. The charity would also like to see a reduction on the UK’s drink-drive limit, which it says is one of the highest in the world. The current UK drink-drive limit is 80mg.

Facts About Young Drink Drivers
(Source – Brake)

— One in eight car licence holders are aged under 25, yet in more than one in three (35%) car crashes involving alcohol the drunk driver is aged under 25.

— 22% of offenders convicted of being drunk drivers are under 25.

— One in three drivers who die on UK roads are under 25.

— In New South Wales, Australia, since the introduction of random breath testing in 1982, fatal crashes involving alcohol have dropped from 40 per cent of all fatalities to 19 per cent. (RTA New South Wales 2008 (

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive, Brake, said “Without a strong deterrent, young people prepared to risk drink driving will have no reason not to – and this research shows that for a significant minority of new-generation drivers, that deterrent simply isn’t seen to be there. Drink driving can only be eliminated through a multi-pronged approach of strong, ever-present enforcement and constant high profile TV advertising explaining that you won’t get away with it. This just doesn’t exist in the UK. As a charity, all Brake can do is implore all drivers not to drink and drive this festive season – not a drop – to prevent the most appalling deaths and devastation to families at a time of year that is supposed to be about love and caring.”

About Brake

Brake is an independent national road safety charity which promotes road safety, runs community road safety training programmes and events including Road Safety Week (23-29 November 2009). Brake’s Fleet Safety Forum provides up-to-date fleet safety resources to fleet managers. BrakeCare, Brake’s support division, cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services. Individuals can sign Brake’s Pledge to Drive Safely and call Brake’s Zak the Zebra hotline to name and shame dangerous roads in their area.

Brake, the road safety charity

Written by – Christian Nordqvist