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Younger drivers more likely to drink and drive

People under the age of 25 are more likely than older motorists to drive under the influence, new figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers have shown.

National statistics for the December 2014 anti-drink and drug driving campaign showed that 133,996 breath tests were carried out, with 5,885 drivers, or 4.4 per cent, failing.

However, among under-25s tested, there was a failure rate of 6.3 per cent. Among over-25s, the failure rate was 3.9 per cent.

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the UK’s national lead for roads policing, said on 20 January: “Younger drivers…are, unsurprisingly, more likely to take risks, but our message is very simple and very clear – you are breaking the law, you are risking your life and the lives of those around you and the consequences of doing so will plague you for the rest of your life.

“Do not drive under the influence – it is not worth the risk and you will be caught. That message is not just for younger drivers, though – it is for all those who get behind the wheel.”

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said the number of young people driving under the influence was “worrying”.

Meanwhile, a new offence of driving with certain controlled drugs, including some prescription drugs, above specified limits will come into force on 2 March 2015.

The drugs include eight illegal substances and eight medicines, the limits for most of which are above the normal dose.

The Department for Transport said that people able to drive safely would have a medical defence if they took a medicine included in the new offence and were above the specified limit but followed the advice of either a healthcare professional or printed in a leaflet accompanying their medication.

Medicinal drugs affected include Clonazepam, Diazepam, Flunitrazepam, Lorazepam, Oxazepam and Temazepam. The department said it estimated that around 19 million prescriptions a year were issued for those included in the new offence.