ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Blowing your licence: Unlicensed drivers in fatal and serious injury accidents

Catchpole, John

Drink Driving


Blowing your licence: Unlicensed drivers in fatal and serious injury accidents John Catchpole Principal Behavioural Scientist, ARRB Group Introduction: Licence sanctions are among the most effective countermeasures against drink driving. However, their effectiveness is reduced if offenders believe they can continue to drive (or ride a motorcycle) while banned. This study aimed to quantify the involvement of unauthorised drivers (including motorcycle riders) in fatal and serious injury accidents, especially those banned following alcohol offences. Method: Information about the licence and offence history of drivers involved in fatal accidents from 2003 to 2007 was initially extracted from VicRoads accident and licence databases and matched for analysis. Results: Approximately 9% of controllers involved in fatal accidents were driving or riding unauthorised at the time. This includes those who were banned, those who had never held a licence and those who held a licence for the wrong vehicle type (usually a car licence holder riding a motorcycle). Unauthorised drivers were more likely than authorised drivers to have an illegal BAC at the time of the fatal accident. Drivers banned as a result of an alcohol offence were more likely than drivers banned for other offences to have an illegal BAC when they crashed. Discussion: Additional information has recently been obtained for drivers and riders involved in serious injury accidents. The paper will present results for drivers and riders in serious injury accidents in addition to those for fatal accidents. The implications of the results for countermeasure development will be discussed.