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Perceptions and experiences of random breath testing in Queensland and the self-reported deterrent impact on drink-driving

Watson, Barry C. & Freeman, James E. (2007) Perceptions and experiences of random breath testing in Queensland and the self-reported deterrent impact on drink-driving. Traffic Injury Prevention, 8(1), pp. 11-19.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Objectives. The present study aimed to explore the impact of random breath testing (RBT) on the attitudes, perceptions and self-reported behaviour of motorists in the Australian state of Queensland. Particular attention was given to how exposure to RBT impacted on motorists’ perceived risk of apprehension and self-reported behaviour, relative to other variables of interest such as alcohol consumption. Methods. The study involved a telephone survey of 780 motorists drawn from throughout the state of Queensland. Participants were volunteers recruited from a random sample of all listed telephone numbers in the state, adjusted according to district population figures. The survey questionnaire collected information relating to the participants’: socio-demographic characteristics; drinking and drink driving behaviours; attitudes to drink driving and RBT; and experiences and perceptions of RBT. Results. The analysis indicated that a large proportion of the sample had both observed RBT and been breath tested within the last six months, and believed the practice served an important role in improving road safety. However, a considerable percentage also reported drink driving at least once in the last six months without being detected, with further analysis indicating that the threat of apprehension associated with RBT did not appear to greatly influence their offending behaviour. Rather, a higher frequency of alcohol consumption, combined with more favourable attitudes to drink driving and lower levels of support for RBT, appeared to be associated with offending behaviour.
Conclusions. While the results confirm the high levels of exposure to RBT achieved in Queensland, the direct impact of recent exposure on drink driving behaviour appears less important than other factors such as alcohol consumption and attitudes to drink driving and RBT. Further research is required to better understand how recent and lifetime exposure to RBT impacts on motorists’ perceived risk of apprehension and subsequent drink driving behaviour.

Impact and interest:

11 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 6948
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Contact the author: b.watson@qut.edu.au
Keywords: Impaired driving, Random Breath Testing (RBT), Law enforcement, Deterrence, Alcohol use, Traffic safety
DOI: 10.1080/15389580601027360
ISSN: 1538-957X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Promotion (111712)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: First published in Traffic Injury Prevention 8(1):pp. 11-19.
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2007
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:36

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