Catching drink drivers in Queensland through Random Breath Testing : what does the last decade of data tell us

Freeman, James, Armstrong, Kerry, & Barraclough, Peter (2013) Catching drink drivers in Queensland through Random Breath Testing : what does the last decade of data tell us. In 20th International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)

Abstract (PDF 22kB)
Accepted Version.



Random Breath Testing (RBT) has proven to be a cornerstone of enforcement attempts to deter (as well as apprehend) motorists from drink driving in Queensland (Australia) for decades. However, scant published research has examined the relationship between the frequency of implementing RBT activities and subsequent drink driving apprehension rates across time.


This study aimed to examine the prevalence of apprehending drink drivers in Queensland over a 12 year period. It was hypothesised that an increase in breath testing rates would result in a corresponding decrease in the frequency of drink driving apprehension rates over time, which would reflect general deterrent effects.


The Queensland Police Service provided RBT data that was analysed.


Between the 1st of January 2000 and 31st of December 2011, 35,082,386 random breath tests (both mobile and stationary) were conducted in Queensland, resulting in 248,173 individuals being apprehended for drink driving offences. A total of 342,801 offences were recorded during this period, representing an intercept rate of .96. Of these offences, 276,711 (80.72%) were recorded against males and 66,024 (19.28%) offences committed by females. The most common drink driving offence was between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC limit. The largest proportion of offences was detected on the weekends, with Saturdays (27.60%) proving to be the most common drink driving night followed by Sundays (21.41%). The prevalence of drink driving detection rates rose steadily across time, peaking in 2008 and 2009, before slightly declining. This decline was observed across all Queensland regions and any increase in annual figures was due to new offence types being developed.


This paper will further outline the major findings of the study in regards to tailoring RBT operations to increase detection rates as well as improve the general deterrent effect of the initiative.

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ID Code: 81400
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
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 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 02 Mar 2015 02:52
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2015 02:02

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