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Sobering warning to learners about being designated drivers

09:43 23 December 2015

You need a sober person in the passenger seat when you are a learner driver.

You need a sober person in the passenger seat when you are a learner driver.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Learner drivers are being warned not to put their licence at risk over Christmas and new year by acting as a designated driver for friends and family after a booze-fuelled night out.

Nearly one in five (17%) motorists who have passed their driving tests admitted that when they were a learner, they had been used as a designated driver to transport people who had been drinking alcohol, according to a survey from Co-operative Insurance.

The company warned that people supervising learner drivers had to adhere to road laws as if they were driving, so, for example, they should not exceed legal drink-drive limits.

But nearly half (45%) of those questioned, who have been a designated driver while a learner for people who had been drinking alcohol, did not believe their passengers would have been in any fit state to help them out if they had become confused or needed to ask a question about their driving.

Motorists in Northern Ireland were the most likely to say they had been a designated driver while a learner for people who had been drinking, followed by people in London, while those in East Anglia were the least likely, according to the survey of 2,000 drivers.

Not only are inexperienced drivers who are yet to pass their test potentially putting other people’s lives at risk if no one is overseeing them properly, but the UK government’s website also warns learners that they can be fined up to £1,000 and get up to six penalty points on their provisional licence by not having the right supervision.

Nick Ansley, head of motor insurance at the Co-op, said: “The law is clear in that learner drivers have to be supervised when they take to the roads. Anyone who asks a learner driver to take them home after a festive get-together, where the other passengers are all under the influence of alcohol, are putting these learners in an unfair situation.

“If you plan to have a drink, order a taxi or walk home. Don’t drink and drive and don’t expect learners to take you.”

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