Alcohol restrictions and drink driving in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia

Fitts, Michelle S., Palk, Gavan R., & Jacups, Susan P. (2013) Alcohol restrictions and drink driving in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia. In Proceedings of the 23rd Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference, Montreal, Canada.


Alcohol restrictions have been implemented in many Indigenous communities internationally, with the aim to reduce alcohol-related harm. Whilst a range of reviews have evaluated such restrictions using different measures, drink driving has been described in several reviews as increasing. Presently, this remains anecdotal; with limited empirical evidence to corroborate these reports. In Australia, the Queensland government introduced alcohol management plans in remote Indigenous communities, during 2002-2003, with total alcohol prohibition commencing in 2008 in some communities. Given road crashes are one of the leading causes of injuries for Indigenous peoples, this study aims to identify if the restrictions have been successful in reducing drink driving or have increased such behaviour. We examine this by reviewing changes in conviction rates and in offender and offence characteristics following the 2008 restrictions. Using de-identified Queensland court drink driving conviction data (2006-2011), from four Indigenous communities, Robust Poisson regression models compared counts of drink driving convictions pre (2006-2008) versus post SRS (2009-2011). Changes in offender characteristics and conviction details (blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and sentencing severity), were examined using chi-squares. Results indicate a decline in convictions after the 2008 SRS in three communities. However, a significant increase in convictions was identified in one study community. Community-level disparity included significant decline in BAC in one community (χ 2=5.58, p=0.02) compared with the three other communities that did not indicate change and a significant increase the number of women convicted in two communities (χ 2=17.36, p<0.01; χ 2=5.79, p=0.04). Alcohol restrictions may have important implications in road safety with these reductions in convictions and BAC in some communities. However, an increase in the number of women convicted and limited changes in BAC for other communities demonstrate the complex relationship between alcohol use, remoteness and driving. Greater focus on demand reduction strategies may be necessary to address alcohol misuse.

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ID Code: 62561
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
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 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 17 Sep 2013 04:05
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2014 22:04

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