The effectiveness of licence restriction for drink drivers: The Australian experience
Watson, Barry C., Siskind, Victor, & King, Mark J. (2000) The effectiveness of licence restriction for drink drivers: The Australian experience. In 15th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS), T2000,Sweden, May 2000, 22 - 26 May, 2000, Stockholm, Sweden.
In many jurisdictions, licence restriction is used as an alternative to full suspension for certain drink driving offenders. However, this may undermine both the specific and general deterrent effect of licence loss, by reducing the perceived certainty and severity of the sanction. To explore this proposition, an analysis was undertaken of the records of almost 22,000 male drivers initially convicted of drink driving during 1988 in Queensland, Australia. At a process level, it was found that licence restriction was relatively common, with 12% of offenders being granted a restricted licence for employment purposes. Contrary to legislative guidelines, these licences were sometimes granted to offenders with a recent history of drink driving. At an outcome level, it was found that the restricted drivers were involved in a similar proportion of alcohol-related crashes, but more non alcohol-related crashes, during the term of the sanction than drivers who had been fully suspended. This is consistent with previous research by the authors indicating that restricted drivers do not commit any more drink driving offences than suspended drivers. Therefore, while full suspension produces greater overall road safety benefits, restricted licences appear no less effective as a specific deterrent to drink driving.
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