ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Comparison of the subsequent driving behaviour of drink driving offenders with a restricted (work) licence by BAC group

Steen, K, Osmond, S


A second chance “ but does a work licence change drink driving behaviour?  Kelly Steen and Sussan Osmond, Road Safety Policy, Department of Transport and Main Roads, PO Box 673, Fortitude Valley Qld 4006. Queensland is one of only four Australian jurisdictions that permit some drink driving offenders to apply for a restricted 'work' licence. Provided it is a first offence, the BAC is less than 0.150, and the applicant meets other eligibility criteria, a work licence permits them to drive for purposes relating to their employment. Work licences have been criticised as undermining the deterrent effect of drink driving laws (i.e. the certainty of licence loss), with a perception that they are easily available. In practice, around one in 10 drink drivers in Queensland obtain a work licence. Offenders are prevented from driving for recreational purposes, but allowing certain offenders to drive for work minimises the potential financial hardship for their dependants, flowing on from their loss of employment. A work licence offers a second chance to offenders with a lower BAC, but little is known about impact on subsequent drink driving behaviour. Drink driving offence and crash involvement may be used as a proxy measure for subsequent behaviour. Offence and crash data were extracted from Queensland's driver licensing database (TRAILS) for drink drivers convicted during 2004 who were disqualified, and then successfully applied for a work licence. Subsequent drink driving offences (5 years) and crash involvement (4 years) were examined by BAC level, and compared to disqualified drink drivers who did not get a work licence.