More emphasis on the hazards of drink and drug-driving is needed in driving lessons, campaigners have warned.
Despite a recent study by the University of London revealing that more millennials are shunning alcohol, and that teetotalism has become more mainstream, drink driving casualties have reached a four-year high in 2018.
In fact, data released recently by the Department of Transport has shown that more than 24 per cent of drink drivers were aged between 16 and 19 years old – inexperienced drivers who have recently passed their driving test.
Campaigners are now calling for learner drivers to be better educated on the hazards of drink and drug driving – particularly in this late-teen age range – and would like to see UK driving tests adapted to include a compulsory drugs and alcohol awareness section.
The current UK driving tests, which comprise a theory test, introduced in 1996, and a practical exam, have undergone only a handful of updates over the last two decades. And whilst the introduction of road user technology, such as reading sat navs, has been addressed and is now part of the practical test itself, the hazards associated with alcohol and drug driving – including certain prescription drugs - are only touched upon with a few basic questions.
Suzannah Robin, an alcohol and drug safety expert at AlcoDigital, has revealed she is concerned that not enough importance is being put on the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs when learning to drive
“The issue isn’t how much alcohol you might consume, but if you have any alcohol in your system at all,” she said.
“Even just one drink means you are three times more likely to cause an incident. My recommendation would be that a compulsory drugs and alcohol session and video be introduced that all learner drivers will be required to attend, and will later be questioned on.”