Beyond the driving test

Drink driving

Why do young drivers drink and drive?

With a young driver's as-yet undeveloped risk assessment centre (the frontal cortex of the brain) comes a tendency towards risky behaviour.

This includes the decision to drink and drive. When lack of consequence planning is combined with peer pressure, it's easy to see why younger drivers take the risk.

The consequences of drink driving

Often statistics only normalise behaviour: if XX% of young drivers drink and drive, surely it's OK to do it? That's why it's better to emphasise the consequences of drink driving.

If you're caught driving over the limit:

  • You could get up to 6 months in prison
  • You could be fined up to £5,000
  • You could lose your licence for at least a year
  • You could have to take an extended retest to get your licence back
  • Your car insurance could go up big time
  • You could struggle to get a job that requires driving
  • You could be refused entry to several countries including America - bye bye gap year
  • You would have to face the embarrassment of admitting what you'd done to friends and family
  • Your social life and freedom would be wrecked

If you kill someone while under the influence, it's 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and a driving ban of at least 2 years. And living with the guilt for the rest of your life.

Drug driving

Since March 2015, drug driving has been covered by the exact same laws as drink driving and now carries the same penalties. While you could always be convicted of dangerous driving if you were found to be impaired through drugs, police now have the technology to do an oral swab at the side of the road to test against set limits.

These limits are as close to zero-tolerance as they can be while ruling out passive inhalation (standing next to someone smoking a joint, for example) so there really is no 'safe to drive' amount.

As well as illegal drugs, these new limits also cover prescription medication as many types can cause impairment if the prescribed dose is exceeded. Whether the drug is illegal or not, if you're impaired or even just stopped and found to be over the new limits, you can be charged with drug driving. Check out the official limits for drug driving.



Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .