First-Time Drivers Could See Zero Alcohol Drink Drive Limit

Sun 4th Oct 2020

A total ban on alcohol for newly-qualified drivers is being considered as one of a range of measures in what is being labelled a ‘graduated licence scheme’ for novice drivers.

The Government’s Transport Committee has taken to Twitter this week to engage with 17-25 year-olds to find out if they would consider a zero-alcohol limit.

Other restrictions for drivers who pass the test aged 25 or under include a ban on driving at night, not being allowed to give lifts to some passengers and speed restrictions. Early evidence suggests that young drivers would support the alcohol ban, but some campaigners claim the other ideas a serious curtailment on civil liberties.

“We're interested in the risks that young drivers face, the fact that they are more likely to be involved in collisions and also the cost to you with regard to insurance,” said Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee.

“Another aspect is the social mobility … if you haven't got a car, or use of car, does that hold you back in terms of your ability to interact, to get work experience, to earn money and then how does that impact on your life chances? 

“That's a particular focus for us, not least because the bus service is not as it was when I was your age.”

Though the UK’s roads are amongst the safest in Europe, government data shows that drivers aged between 17-25 are responsible for 16 per cent of fatal and serious collisions, despite making up only 7 per cent of the driving community.

Despite the young drivers seemingly being behind the changes, some within the industry have said the moves could discourage young people from learning to drive. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ian McIntosh from RED Driving School said: “This would impact social mobility, employment prospects and hamper local economies. 

“The timing of this proposal couldn’t be worse. The younger generations have been hit the hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic and have already suffered the most from a constricted job market.”