Almost 30% of motorists aged 17 to 24 are willing to risk driving after drinking, a poll today showed.
The number of these young drivers prepared to drive the morning after a heavy drinking session has risen in the last four years, the survey also revealed.
As many as 29% of young drivers were ready to gamble on drinking and driving, the poll by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.
This was a reduction on the figure of 44% in a similar poll in 2007.
But the number of drivers aged 17-24 risking getting behind the wheel the morning after had risen from 45% in 2007 to 53% now.
While the majority (62%) of young drivers understood that even one unit affects driving, as many as 12% believed they could consume three or more units and still drive safely.
Brake and Direct Line are calling on young people, families and all drivers and passengers to commit to a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving this festive season, and year-round.
Brake campaigns director Julie Townsend said: “Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate.
“But for some of the families Brake supports, it’s a sad time when they remember loved ones who have been killed in crashes caused by drink-drivers – in many cases young, inexperienced drivers who didn’t think through the consequences.”
She went on: “Their deaths were preventable, and we all – young and old – have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent further drink drive deaths and injuries.”
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: “The number of drink-drive deaths has fallen by more than 75% since 1979 and I am pleased that the message is getting through to the vast majority of young drivers but it is disappointing that there are still people who think it is OK to drink and drive.
“Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel over the limit then they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.
“We know that young men are more likely to be involved in drink-drive collisions which is why we specifically target our THINK! drink-drive campaigns at this group.
“No one wants to spend Christmas in a police cell. My message is clear: don’t drink and drive.”