Random Breath Testing Operation and Effectiveness in 1987

King, Mark (1988) Random Breath Testing Operation and Effectiveness in 1987. Office of Road Safety, South Australian Department of Road Transport, Adelaide, South Australia.


• In December 1986 funds were approved to double the intensity of random breath testing (RBT) and provide publicity support for police efforts. These changes were considered necessary to make RBT effective.

• RBT methods were changed in the metropolitan area to enable block testing (pulling over a block of traffic rather than one or two cars), deployment of police to cut off escape routes, and testing by traffic patrols in all police subdivisions. Additional operators were trained for country RBT.

• A publicity campaign was developed, aimed mainly at male drivers aged 18-50. The campaign consisted of the “cardsharp” television commercials, radio commercials, newspaper articles, posters and pamphlets.

• Increased testing and the publicity campaigns were launched on 10 April 1987.

• Police tests increased by 92.5% in May – December 1987, compared with the same period in the previous four years.

• The detection rate for drinking drivers picked up by police who were cutting off escape routes was comparatively high, indicating that drivers were attempting to avoid RBT, and that this police method was effective at detecting these drivers.

• A telephone survey indicated that drivers were aware of the messages of the publicity campaign.

• The telephone survey also indicated that the target group had been exposed to high levels of RBT, as planned, and that fear of apprehension was the major factor deterring them from drink driving.

• A roadside survey of driver blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) by the University of Adelaide’s Road Accident Research Unit (RARU) showed that, between 10p.m. and 3a.m., the proportion of drivers in Adelaide with a BAC greater than or equal to 0/08 decreased by 42%.

• Drivers under 21 were identified as a possible problem area.

• Fatalities in the twelve month period commencing May 1987 decreased by 18% in comparison with the previous twelve month period, and by 13% in comparison with the average of the previous two twelve month periods (commencing May 1985 and May 1986). There are indications that this trend is continuing.

• It is concluded that the increase in RBT, plus publicity, was successful in achieving its aims of reductions in drink driving and accidents.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

4 since deposited on 04 Jan 2016
2 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 91571
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: Random breath testing, Drink driving, Publicity campaign, Police enforcement, Evaluation
Subjects: 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 > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
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 1988 Office of Road Safety, South Australian Department of Road Transport
Deposited On: 04 Jan 2016 02:30
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2016 05:04

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page