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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 01:06 GMT 02:06 UK
'One in five' teens drink-drives
Breath test
Brake wants to see a lower drink-drive limit for all drivers
One in five teenagers has driven while under the influence of alcohol while one in 14 has driven after taking drugs, a survey suggests.

And nearly a third of the 3,118 17 to 18-year-olds asked had been in a car when the driver was drunk or on drugs.

Charity Brake, which carried out the research with Co-operative Insurance (CIS), said ministers needed to act.

It says the results add weight to calls for licences to be passed in stages and a zero alcohol limit for new drivers.

'Deadly combination'

The road safety charity has urged young drivers to "never drink or take drugs and drive".

Decisive government action to tackle young driver crashes is long overdue
Jools Townsend

It also wants to see lower drink drive limit for all drivers, from the current 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg per 100ml of blood - in line with EU recommendations - or even to 20mg per 100ml of blood, with a zero alcohol limit for novice drivers.

Jools Townsend, head of education at Brake, said: "Every day young drivers kill and seriously injure themselves and others through a deadly combination of inexperience and taking risks like drink and drug driving."

She added: "Decisive government action to tackle young driver crashes is long overdue.

"We are demanding that the government moves forward with an overhaul of driver training and testing, and introduces graduated driver licensing, which has been highly effective in cutting casualties in other countries.
Only 1 in 5? Is that all? I was a drink driver when I was a teenager 20 years ago. About 1 in 3 were doing it then.
Peter Allen

"We also need compulsory road safety education in schools and much greater investment in traffic policing, to show that driving that threatens lives will not be tolerated."

David Neave, CIS director of general insurance, said too many young drivers were "risking their lives and the lives of others" by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Alcohol ban

Last month the Commons transport committee recommended raising the minimum driving age from 17 to 18 to stop young people "killing themselves and others",

The MPs also wanted learner drivers to spread lessons over a year before taking their test and a complete alcohol ban for new drivers.

Novice drivers should be banned from carrying passengers aged between 10 and 20 late at night, their report added.

Government figures show that on average more than three people aged 17 or 18 are killed or badly injured in car crashes every day.

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