L-plate and P-plate drivers — who are breaking the law if they have the slightest trace of alcohol in their blood system — are among the hundreds of WA motorists who have admitted drink-driving in the past year.

The Zero Excuses survey of more than 6700 WA motorists revealed that, despite tougher penalties and decades of awareness campaigns, one in seven of them got behind the wheel of their car when they were probably over the legal 0.05 blood alcohol limit.

And one in 20 drink-drivers did it more than once, some more than 10 times.

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Alarmingly, one in five P-platers and one in seven L-platers admitted driving after drinking alcohol.

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said it was disappointing that so many young people drove after drinking.

“Probationary and learner drivers are not permitted to drive with any alcohol in their system,” she said.

“The answer is simple — if you plan to drink, plan not to drive and make the roads safer for all West Australians.”

Acting Road Safety Commissioner Teresa Williams said the survey indicated that motorists might not be aware of the risks involved in driving after drinking. “Alcohol continues to be a major contributing factor to death and serious injury on our roads,” she said.

“The Road Safety Commission will continue to educate the community about the risks involved with getting behind the wheel impaired by alcohol through community education campaigns and social media.

“WA Police has increased its drink-driving enforcement capabilities.”

Ms Williams said there were good reasons that learner and probationary drivers had to drive with a zero blood alcohol concentration.

“Driving is a complex task and requires concentration, alertness and awareness of your surroundings and impairment from alcohol behind the wheel slows your reaction time, your ability to judge distances and tends to increase risk-taking while driving,” she said.

“It is also up to the individual driver to do the right thing.”

The survey found that beer drinkers were more likely to drink and drive (54 per cent), followed by white wine (22 per cent) or red wine (18 per cent) drinkers.

Of those respondents who admitted drink-driving, 55 per cent said they did so because they “felt sober enough” to do so.

Almost half (48 per cent) said they did so because they were only driving a short distance, while one in four (27 per cent) said they did not want to leave their car overnight.

And 11 per cent of regular drink-drivers have taken a selfie while driving, compared with only 0.45 per cent of non-drink-drivers.

One in 10 drink-drivers thought they could drive after six drinks.

Another two in five said they could handle driving after three to four drinks.

As a guide, the commission recommends that men should not drink more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink every following hour, while women should not drink more than one standard drink an hour.