MONTREAL - A student group told CTV Montreal Friday that it plans to challenge an upcoming rule of the road in which Quebec drivers aged under 21 years of age will no longer be allowed to consume a single drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, starting in mid-April.

The measure aims at decreasing the over-representation of young people who die on Quebec roads, according to  the Quebec license bureau, SAAQ.

The restriction becomes official as soon as it published in the Quebec official Gazette.

License holders under 21 will not be permitted to have even a trace of alcohol in their blood. Currently only drivers with probationary licenses are subject to the restriction.

Under current rules young drivers can obtain a learner's permit for 12 months, then one can take an exam and obtain a probationary license for 24 months.

That means that certain drivers aged 19 or 20 are currently allowed to drink alcohol before they drive, assuming that their blood-alcohol limit does not exceed normal limits. That will no longer be the case.

Those caught violating the rule will have their licenses suspended for three months.

According to Gino Desrosiers of the SAAQ, the measure is needed to teach young drivers proper driving behaviour.

The Quebec Federation of CEGEP students has vowed to take the matter to court to stop the rule, on the basis that it discriminates on the basis of age. They don't mind, however, a rule based on lack of experience.

"We are suggesting that the SAAQ and Transport Minister impose a policy of zero tolerance for the first five years of driving," said Quebec Federation of CEGEP students chief Leo Bureau Blouin.

"So if you get your license at age 20, you won't be allowed to drink alcohol before driving until 25." 

One lobby group, predictably, welcomed the new rule.

"When you know that impaired driving is the number one cause of death among all teens we're really happy that the zero tolerance is being imposed," said Theresa-Anne Kramer of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) West Island branch.

With a file from The Canadian Press