Andrew Duffy, 31, of Greenock, had only passed his driving test five months earlier and was on his way to his fiancee's house when his Volvo V70 smashed into the Peugeot 206 being driven by 76-year-old grandfather George Sweeney.
The High Court in Glasgow heard Duffy, who said was remorseful over the death, was convicted of a drink-driving incident that occurred months before the fatal crash in November 2011. Lord Matthews said: "It is of concern that only five days before this collision you were fined £225 and had your licence endorsed for failing to stop and report and on January 3, 2012 you were fined £270 and disqualified for a year for driving under the influence of drink or drugs - an offence which was committed in July 2011."
He ordered Duffy to be banned from driving for six years after he was convicted of causing Mr Sweeney's death by dangerous driving.
The court heard that Duffy, who seconds earlier had overtaken two cars at speed, lost control of his car onto a left-hand bend in Carwood Street.
Mr Sweeney, of Greenock, suffered broken ribs and a fractured breastbone in the crash and was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital, where he later died.
Duffy said he felt devastated when he was told Mr Sweeney had died. Defence counsel Thomas Ross said: "He will have to live with the death on his conscience for the rest of his life."