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The impact of safety measures on the re-offence and crash rates of drink-driving offenders in Victoria

Watson, A, Imberger, K, Cavallo, A, Healy, D, Freeman, J, Filtness, A, Wilson, H, Catchpole, J (Peer reviewed)

Drink/Drug Driving

ARSC conference 2015

Alcohol is a major factor in road deaths and serious injuries. In Victoria, between 2008 and 2013, 30% of drivers killed were involved in alcohol-related crashes. From the early 1980s Victoria progressively introduced a series of measures, such as driver licence cancellation and alcohol interlocks, to reduce the level of drink-driving on Victoria's roads. This project tracked drink-driving offenders to measure and understand their re-offence and road trauma involvement levels during and after periods of licensing and driving interventions. The methodology controlled for exposure by aggregating crashes and traffic violations within relevant categories (e.g. licence cancelled/relicensed/relicensing not sought) and calculated as rates 'per thousand person-years'. Inferential statistical techniques were used to compare crash and offence rates between control and treatment groups across three distinct time periods, which coincided with the introduction of new interventions. This paper focuses on the extent to which the Victorian drink-driving measures have been successful in reducing re-offending and road trauma involvement during and after periods of licence interventions. It was found that a licence cancellation/ban is an effective drink-driving countermeasure as it reduced drink-driving offending and drink-driving crashes. Interlocks also had a positive effect on drink-driving offences as they were reduced during the interlock period as well as for the entire intervention period. Possible drink-driving policy implications are briefly discussed.