More young drivers drink driving

More young drivers across the country are getting in the driving seat under the influence of alcohol, it has been revealed.

Police checks in England and Wales caught more than one in every 20 young people under the age of 25 who were stopped over the legal limit.

Out of 27,147 police checks, a total of 1,746 young drivers were found to be over the legal limit. The rate of 6.4% was an increase on the 5.9% seen last year.

The figures could result in young drivers, who already face steepcar insurance rates, seeing their costs double if they are caught under the influence while driving.

But overall figures showed the proportion of motorists found over the legal alcohol limit has fallen slightly.

Of the 100,853 people stopped and breath-tested, 5,652 tested positive or refused to take a test. The 5.6% rate compared with 5.8% last year.

Meanwhile, the number of people who failed a field impairment test to check for drugs also fell from just over a third (33%) last year to 22% in 2010.

Official figures will be released on Friday detailing the toll of death and serious injuries caused by drink-drivers.

Government ministers have been urged to cut the drink-drive limit by nearly half in a report by Sir Peter North.

His review said reducing the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg would save hundreds of lives.

He also recommended that the current mandatory 12-month driving ban should be maintained for the new 50mg limit.

A 50mg limit would bring the UK into line with most of Europe, but combined with a 12-month ban it would be one of the toughest drink-drive regimes.

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said the figures were "encouraging" but more could be done as the message was "still not getting through to all motorists, especially younger drivers".

He added that lowering the drink-drive limit would save lives and should be implemented.

Mr Tink went on: "It's absolutely crucial that the enforcement measures such as random breath testing and freeing the police up to spend more time on the roads are put in place as soon as possible. Policy without enforcement is ultimately just a piece of paper."

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