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2014 Ford Fiesta. Ford has begun testing its own driverless cars in the US.

2014 Ford Fiesta. Ford has begun testing its own driverless cars in the US.

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Young motorists are five times more likely to drink and drive if their parents do it, according to a new study.

A survey of 251 motorists aged 17-25 found that 37% admit to driving when over the alcohol limit.

Photo of a young man drinking. Research reveals young drivers are more likely to drink drive if their parents have done so.

Photo of a young man drinking. Research reveals young drivers are more likely to drink drive if their parents have done so.

But among those who said their parents drink-drive, 70% confessed to also doing it, compared to just 14% of those who have not seen their parents over the limit and behind the wheel.

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill, which commissioned the research, says: “The immediate risks that those who drink-drive pose to other road-users are widely known and very serious, but the knock-on impact on younger generations is extremely worrying.

“By drink-driving, parents are unofficially sanctioning this behaviour, and as a result, young drivers are far more likely to put themselves and other road-users at risk by driving while intoxicated.”

A survey of 2,000 Britons found that 29% admit to driving the morning after drinking when they believed they may still be over the legal limit.

Photo of a driving lesson. Learner drivers are not in favour of proposed changes to the driving test.

Photo of a driving lesson. Learner drivers are not in favour of proposed changes to the driving test.

Some 38% thought it would not be legal for them to drive the morning after a Christmas party this year, but more than one in four (26%) planned to get behind the wheel before 10am.

Latest Department for Transport figures show there were 230 drink-drive fatalities in Britain in 2013.

:: Ford is set to start testing driverless cars on public roads in California, hot on the heels of news that fully automated cars could be legal on the US state’s streets in little over a year’s time.

Based at Ford’s growing Palo Alto Research & Innovation Center, more than 100 engineers and scientists will run, observe and analyse autonomous hybrid versions of its Fusion, known in Europe as the Mondeo.

As part of the move, the team will test interactions between autonomous cars and pedestrians, street sign recognition and more.

Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering, says: “Having a strong presence in Silicon Valley allows us to further accelerate our research on a wide range of technologies, and apply our insights to create real-world mobility solutions.”

:: Proposals to change the driving test will unfairly penalise learners who are ‘nervous in test situations’, according to a survey of young drivers.

The idea of requesting a deposit, which is returned to drivers only if they pass, is designed to stop novices from putting in for their test before they are really ready. But 69% of drivers aged 17-25 think this would put extra pressure on those people who are more stressed about the test anyway.

The survey of 450 young drivers, by specialist insurer Marmalade, revealed a split over the deposits idea, with 49% liking it and 40% being totally against.

More than half (56%) said the fear of losing a deposit would make them more nervous about taking the test, while 36% said it would be no issue.

Elsewhere in the survey, a proposed move to fixed appointment times was popular. Almost nine out of 10 see this as a good way to reduce waiting times, but there was concern over the spread of times and days of the week.

Driving on a dark evening or a quiet Sunday could make it harder or easier to pass the driving test, it is being claimed.

The young drivers in the Marmalade study also flagged concerns with the current driving test, which is a mere 40 minutes. Many of the respondents wanted to see drivers evaluated over a longer period of time, or in several separate stints behind the wheel.

Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, says: “Everyone learns in different ways and some people need to experience the test in order to help them relax second time round. It’s great that driving tests are being looked at, there are obviously issues that need addressing.”