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Profiling the offence patterns of disqualified drink drivers in Queensland, Australia.

By Kerry A. Armstrong, Barry C. Watson, Kerrie Livingstone and Angela Watson


While unlicensed driving does not play a direct causative role in road crashes, it represents a major problem for road safety. A particular subgroup of concern is those offenders who continue to drive after having their licence disqualified for drink driving. Surveys of disqualified drivers suggest that driving among this group is relatively common. Method This paper reports findings from an analysis of the driving records of over 545,000 Queensland drivers who experienced a licence sanction between January 2003 and December 2008. The sample included drivers who were disqualified by a court (e.g., for drink driving); those who licence had been suspended administratively (e.g., for accumulation of demerit points); and those who were placed on a restricted licence. Results Overall, 95,461 of the drivers in the sample were disqualified from driving for a drink driving offence. During the period, these drivers were issued with a total of 2,644,619 traffic infringements with approximately 12% (n = 8, 095) convicted of a further drink driving offence while disqualified. Other traffic offences detected during this period including unlicensed driving (18%), driving an unregistered vehicle (27%), speeding (21%), dangerous driving (36%), mobile phone use (35%), non-restraint use (32%), and other moving violation (23%). Offending behaviour was more common among men than women. Conclusions While licence disqualification has previously been shown to be a relatively effective sanction for managing the behaviour of drink driving offenders, the results of the current study highlight that it is a far from perfect tool since many offenders continue to commit both drink driving and other traffic offences while disqualified. As such, this study highlights the ongoing need to enhance the detection of disqualified and unlicensed driving in order to deter this behaviour

Year: 2010
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