Review of the under the limit drink driving rehabilitation program
Palk, Gavan R., Sheehan, Mary C., & Schonfeld, Cynthia C. (2006) Review of the under the limit drink driving rehabilitation program. Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland, Brisbane, Qld.
The combination of alcohol and driving is a major health and economic burden to
most communities in industrialised countries. The total cost of crashes for Australia in
1996 was estimated at approximately 15 billion dollars and the costs for fatal crashes
were about 3 billion dollars (BTE, 2000). According to the Bureau of Infrastructure,
Transport and Regional Development and Local Government (2009; BITRDLG) the
overall cost of road fatality crashes for 2006 $3.87 billion, with a single fatal crash
costing an estimated $2.67 million. A major contributing factor to crashes involving
serious injury is alcohol intoxication while driving. It is a well documented fact that
consumption of liquor impairs judgment of speed, distance and increases involvement
in higher risk behaviours (Waller, Hansen, Stutts, & Popkin, 1986a; Waller et al.,
1986b). Waller et al. (1986a; b) asserts that liquor impairs psychomotor function and
therefore renders the driver impaired in a crisis situation. This impairment includes;
vision (degraded), information processing (slowed), steering, and performing two
tasks at once in congested traffic (Moskowitz & Burns, 1990). As BAC levels
increase the risk of crashing and fatality increase exponentially (Department of
Transport and Main Roads, 2009; DTMR). According to Compton et al. (2002) as
cited in the Department of Transport and Main Roads (2009), crash risk based on
probability, is five times higher when the BAC is 0.10 compared to a BAC of 0.00.
The type of injury patterns sustained also tends to be more severe when liquor is
involved, especially with injuries to the brain (Waller et al., 1986b). Single and Rohl
(1997) reported that 30% of all fatal crashes in Australia where alcohol involvement
was known were associated with Breadth Analysis Content (BAC) above the legal
limit of 0.05gms/100ml. Alcohol related crashes therefore contributes to a third of the
total cost of fatal crashes (i.e. $1 billion annually) and crashes where alcohol is involved are more likely to result in death or serious injury (ARRB Transport
Research, 1999). It is a major concern that a drug capable of impairment such as is
the most available and popular drug in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare, 2007; AIHW). According to the AIHW (2007) 89.9% of the approximately
25,000 Australians over the age of 14 surveyed had consumed at some point in time,
and 82.9% had consumed liquor in the previous year. This study found that 12.1% of
individuals admitted to driving a motor vehicle whilst intoxicated. In general males
consumed more liquor in all age groups.
In Queensland there were 21503 road crashes in 2001, involving 324 fatalities and the
largest contributing factor was alcohol and or drugs (Road Traffic Report, 2001).
23438 road crashes in 2004, involving 289 fatalities and the largest contributing factor
was alcohol and or drugs (DTMR, 2009). Although a number of measures such as
random breath testing have been effective in reducing the road toll (Watson, Fraine &
Mitchell, 1995) the recidivist drink driver remains a serious problem. These findings
were later supported with research by Leal, King, and Lewis (2006). This Queensland
study found that of the 24661 drink drivers intercepted in 2004, 3679 (14.9%) were
recidivists with multiple drink driving convictions in the previous three years covered
(Leal et al., 2006). The legal definition of the term “recidivist” is consistent with the
Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (1995) and is assigned to
individuals who have been charged with multiple drink driving offences in the
previous five years. In Australia relatively little attention has been given to prevention
programs that target high-risk repeat drink drivers. However, over the last ten years a
rehabilitation program specifically designed to reduce recidivism among repeat drink
drivers has been operating in Queensland. The program, formally known as the
“Under the Limit” drink driving rehabilitation program (UTL) was designed and
implemented by the research team at the Centre for Accident Research and Road
Safety in Queensland with funding from the Federal Office of Road Safety and the
Institute of Criminology (see Sheehan, Schonfeld & Davey, 1995). By 2009 over
8500 drink-drivering offenders had been referred to the program (Australian Institute
of Crime, 2009).
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|Keywords:||alcohol and driving, alcohol intoxication, Department of Transport and Main Roads, road safety|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)|
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2006 Queensland University of Technology|
|Deposited On:||12 May 2011 08:22|
|Last Modified:||22 Jun 2011 17:40|
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