DRIVERS aged under 21 should be banned from drinking any alcohol before they get behind the wheel, an influential Government advisory group has warned.

The call, from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, echoes the aims of the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign, which is striving to cut the carnage of young drivers on our roads.

The group will now complete a report that will be submitted to home secretary Jacqui Smith in February.

Speaking at a public meeting, group chair-man Caroline Healy, said: “We feel that young people under the age of 21 should have a zero rate for alcohol if they are driving.

“By their nature, they are inexperienced drivers and not able to tolerate alcohol, and the combination of the two is dangerous.”

She said the system should be “much more robust”, echoing similar comments by the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson.

There were 1,080 drink-drive accidents involving teenage drivers in 2005, while 88 people were killed in accidents in which drivers between the ages of 17 and 20 were over the limit. Some 14 European countries have either set the blood-alcohol limit for novice drivers at zero or virtually zero.

A spokesman for the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, said: “There does seem to be a feeling of invincibility with young people at the moment.

“They think it will never happen to them. But as casualty statistics show, this is very far from the truth.

"What is deeply worrying is the carefree attitude of inexperienced young drivers. Add alcohol, and it is a disaster waiting to happen.”