Posted on 19/12/2011 17:18:00
Motoring law specialists are warning young drivers about risking their licence or even their jobs this Christmas and New Year for the sake of a few drinks.
Record numbers of UK motorists in their teens and early 20s are expected to take to the roads after a night out with work colleagues or friends.
Snow and ice disruption led to many festivities, especially office parties, being cancelled over the last two years so many inexperienced drivers were not faced with a drink-drive dilemma.
Economic factors may also tempt people to take the car this year and with an increased number of new drivers experiencing their first Christmas behind the wheel experts are warning that drink-drive casualty figures may rise after an all-time low.
Solicitor Matt Reynolds of Just Motor Law said: “More young drivers than ever before will enjoy the option of driving this Christmas and New Year but along with this novelty comes the quandary of ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ drive and if so whether to have a drink or two.
“A new survey of 18,138 drivers by AA/Populus revealed that 25% of drivers, especially 18 to 24 year olds, are concerned that they will be tempted or feel pressurised to have ‘one for the road’ at parties.
“Sometimes it is easy to be swept along with your friends and make a snap decision that has far reaching, negative and expensive consequences.
“Our advice is to avoid temptation by planning ahead and discussing travel arrangements with family, friends and work colleagues in advance.
“Unless you are confident of not drinking any alcohol at all, arrange your lift home with a non drinking and full licence holding colleague, book a taxi and team up with others to share the expense, or sweet talk mum or dad or a partner to collect you.
“Planning ahead avoids falling foul to peer pressure so you can focus on enjoying the festivities rather than waking up in a police cell facing criminal charges and the loss of your licence.”
New drivers with less than two years’ experience are also being warned by Just Motor Law about boozing and ‘sleeping it off’ in the car.
They face being convicted of being drunk in charge of a vehicle and a ten-point penalty which under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 means their licence will be revoked.
Matt Reynolds said: “For many young people a driving licence is their passport to independence and essential for employment - but a driving ban or revocation of their licence can set them back in their career, studies and social life.
“If a new driver receives six or more penalty points within their first two years then the DVLA will revoke their licence and they will have to retake their practical and theory tests. This will be costly and time consuming.”
Revellers also face prosecution for aiding and abetting someone to drive while over the legal limit and risk losing their own driving licence for a minimum of a year.
A total of 170,000 motorists were breath-tested in the UK-wide crackdown last year and 6,662 arrests were made. Police will again be carrying out roadside tests on drivers they suspect of drink-driving or of being under the influence of drugs.
Male drivers under 25 have the highest incidence of failing a breath test after being involved in a road accident in which someone was injured, according to the Department of Transport.
Driving Standards Agency figures show 700,000 new drivers take to the UK roads every year, the majority in their teens or early 20s.
Just Motor Law - www.justmotorlaw.co.uk - is a dedicated team of lawyers who specialise in defending motorists who fall foul of the UK’s road traffic laws, offering free consultation and online advice. Ring 0845 485 1234.