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Patterns of Traffic Violations with Special Emphasis to DUI in Tennessee, USA

H.N. Mookherjee

Department of Sociology, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee, U.S.A.


Drinking-driving, DUI offences, DUI offenders, Traffic violations Abstract

The primary objective of this paper is to study the driving patterns of the Tennessee DUI drivers, in order to understand alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in Tennessee. Data were obtained from the Tennessee Department of Highway Safety. Driving records were analyzed for drivers who received a citation for a driving violation in 1999, since they received their driving licenses.

Out of a total 4,355,230 valid licensed drivers in 1999, 671,544 drivers were cited for traffic movement violations. These cited drivers were recorded to have a total of 989,848 traffic

movement violations since they received their driving license. The analyses revealed that among these drivers 68% were males, 78% were whites, and about 15% (99,388) were cited for DUI offences. In addition to the typologies of the drinking-drivers’ traffic violations, this study explores the possibility of detecting indirectly the drivers’ driving skills and attitudes toward drinking-driving.


Studies describing the characteristics of drinking-drivers and DUI offenders (1,3,4,7,12) reveal that unemployed, single, separated or divorced individuals, with a lower level of formal

education and lower socioeconomic status are over-represented for drinking-driving and DUI offences. Most are males between the ages of 20-50. However, the results on lifestyle behavior studies of DUI offenders are not consistent. Some have indicated a relationship between higher rates of traffic movement violations and automobile crashes among crash involved and/or DUI offenders (2), but others have found no relationship between drinking-driving and auto accidents (6). Studies also identify a higher level of tobacco and drug use among the crash involved drivers (2,8), where the events occur mostly in relation to sports, bar attendance, spending time with friends and other social activities (10).

Studies on motivations to drink and drive indicate that these activities are affected by sub-cultural norms, expectations, and values implemented by individuals (10). Some studies have also

revealed that work-related stress might have been the pre-conditional factor in drinking-driving, which then leads to auto-crashes. Attitudinal studies, suggest that personal attitudes and decisions made well in advance of drinking-driving are highly predictive of impaired driving and crashes


Most of the above studies are derived from the implied assumption that the impaired drivers are mostly involved in auto-accidents, and their impairments are directly related to their alcohol addiction. In short, impaired drivers are alcoholics. As a result, researchers have developed typologies of impaired drivers (11,12), where “the delinquency group”(11) or “the hard core drinking-drivers”(1,3,9) are found to be more likely to be involved in “crashes” or “drinking- driving crashes.” This “delinquency group” consists of mostly male drivers who are less likely to be heavy drinkers with less driving exposure. They exhibit the highest drinking-driving problems, even more than those of the heavy drinkers (12:61).

These findings suggest that the heavy drinkers are not always the problem drivers, who are involved in drinking-driving crashes. We believe that attitudes of the drivers are the important factor, which lead to their drinking-driving behavior and auto- crashes. We assume that the drivers’ driving attitudes and skills are reflected through the patterns of their driving movement violations. We will explore the patterns of driving violations of Tennessee DUI drivers, as a test case, to better understand the alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in Tennessee.


The data were collected from the Tennessee Department of Highway Safety. Driving records of the drivers who received a driving citation in 1999 for driving violation, as recorded, since they received their driving license, were analyzed. Driving violations were categorized according to (1) minor traffic violations, e.g., reckless driving, speeding, driving through red light, and related violations; (2) driving under the influence (DUI) and related violations; (3) accidents- property damage; (4) accidents- bodily injuries; and (5) fatal accidents.

During 1999 in Tennessee, out of a total 4,355,230 valid licensed drivers, 671,544 drivers were cited for traffic movement violations. These cited drivers were recorded to have a total of 989,848 traffic movement violations since they received their driving license. Among these 671,544 cited drivers about 15% (99,388) were cited for drinking-driving (DUI) offences. Our main interest was to find out the patterns of driving offences among these DUI offenders. We analyzed the driving records of these DUI offenders (99,388), since they received their driving license.


The analyses revealed that among these 99,388 DUI offenders in Tennessee during 1999, 78.5%

were males and 77.4% were white adults. Comparatively, more non-white males than white males (93% vs. 74%), but more white females than non-white females (26% vs. 7%) were convicted for a DUI offence. However, regarding the total number of traffic violations in 1999, both whites and non-whites received almost equal proportions of citations in DUI and related offences (15% vs. 15%), accidents-bodily injuries (3% vs. 3%), and fatal accidents (0.2% vs.

0.1%), while in accidents-property damage whites (10%) received more citations than that of the non-whites (7%). Interestingly, for minor traffic violations non-whites (75%) received more citations in comparison to whites (72%).


When considering the age of the DUI offenders, it was noted that the majority of the offenders were from the 21-29 age-group (38%), and next to that were the 30-39 age-group (33%). The DUI convictions were lower among the higher age-groups (40-49 =14%; 50-59 =5%; 60 & over

=3%). However, the DUI related traffic violations among the age-group 21 & below (9%) were lower in comparison to that of the other age-groups.

Table 1 presents the different types of traffic violations committed by the 1999 DUI offenders, since they received their driving license. The severity of drinking-driving in connection with accidents is vividly revealed in this table (Table 1). The record shows that these 99,388 DUI offenders were cited with a total of 394,283 traffic violations. Among these DUI offenders, 59%

were cited with one-DUI offence, 21% were charged with two-DUI offences, and the remaining 20% were multiple-DUI offenders. The record also shows that the one-time DUI offenders were cited for a total of 152,630 traffic movement violations, indicating their “somewhat reluctant”

driving pattern. On the other hand, these one-time DUI offenders had only about 38.4% of the total traffic violations in DUI offences, while the two-times or multiple-DUI offenders had the most traffic violations in DUI offences (45% - 75%). Again, these one-time drinking-driving offenders’ minor traffic violations were only 33% of their total traffic violations, the remaining 67% of the traffic violations were serious offences, including accidents- property damage, bodily injuries, fatal accidents, and drinking-driving. In addition, these one-time DUI offenders

committed on an average 1.6 other traffic violations, while the repeat DUI offenders committed on an average more than 5.2 other traffic violations. These records of traffic violations not only reflect these drivers pattern of driving, they also suggest to take caution about the repeat DUI offenders.


Table 1: DUI offenders’ number of DUI offences by all traffic violations

Number DUI Minor traffic Accidents- Accidents- Fatal Total of DUI Offenders violations property bodily acci- viola-

damage injuries dents tions

One 58,639 50,369 27,473 15,386 763 152,630

(38.4%) (33.0%) (18.0%) (10.0%) (0.5%) (100%)

Two 21,103 25,016 14,015 6,404 79 87,720

(48.1%) (28.5%) (16.0%) ( 7.3%) (0.09%)(100%)

Three 9,929 19,095 6,052 3,815 5 58,754

(50.7%) (32.5%) (10.3%) ( 6.5%) (0.01%)(100%)

Four 4,261 8,817 3,198 1,987 - 31,046

(54.9%) (28.4%) (10.3%) ( 6.4%) (100%)

Five 2,485 9,532 1,264 849 - 24,070

(51.6%) (39.6%) ( 5.3%) ( 3.5%) (100%)

Six 1,391 7,154 1, 533 612 - 17,645

(47.2%) (40.5%) ( 8.7%) ( 3.5%) (100%)

Seven 696 2,835 - 78 - 7,785

(62.6%) (36.4%) - ( 1.0%) (100%)

Eight 396 573 217 248 - 4,206

(75.3%) (13.6%) ( 5.2%) ( 5.9%) (100%)

Nine & more 488 3,348 977 340 30 10,427 (55.0%)(32.1%)( 9.4%) (3.3%) (0.3%) (100%)

Total 99,388(182,219) 126,739 54,729 29,719 877 394,283

(Total DUI offences committed by DUI offenders are presented in italics)


Table 2: DUI offenders and their total traffic violations

Number Total # Number of traffic violations committed by DUI offenders Total # Mean # of DUI of DUI __________________________________________of viola- of viola- offences offenders (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7 & +) tions tions One 58,639(59.0%)12,314 21,755 13,370 6,216 2,580 1,114 1,290 152,630 2.6

(100) (21.0) (37.1) (22.8) (10.6) ( 4.4) ( 1.9) ( 2.2)

Two 21,103(21.2%) 3,482 5,529 5,529 2,912 1,583 2,068 87,720 4.2 (100) (16.5) (26.2) (26.2) (13.8) ( 7.5) ( 9.8)

Three 9,929(10.0%) 1,708 1,857 1.857 933 3,574 58,754 5.9

(100) (17.2) (18.7) (18.7) ( 9.4) (36.0)

Four 4,261( 4.3%) 230 835 1,065 2,131 31,046 7.3

(100) ( 5.4) (19.6) (25.0) (50.0)

Five 2,485( 2.5%) 152 226 2,107 24,070 9.7

(100) ( 6.1) ( 9.1) (84.8)

Six 1,391( 1.4%) 1,391 17,645 12.7

(100) (100)

Seven 696( 0.7%) 696 7,785 11.2

(100) (100)

Eight & 884( 0.9%) 884 14,633 16.6

more (100) (100)

Total 99,388(100%) 12,314 25,237 20,607 13,832 8,336 4,921 14,141 394,283 4.0 (100) (12.4) (25.4) (20.7) (13.9) ( 8.4) ( 5.0) ( 14.2)

(Percentages are presented in parentheses and in italics.)

Table 2 presents the total number of traffic violations committed by the 1999 DUI offenders.

Among all these DUI offenders (99,388) about 59% were first-time DUI offenders, and their total traffic violations numbered 152,630, which is an average of 2.6 traffic violations committed per offender until 1999. Data revealed that the convicted second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-time DUI offenders, on an average, were involved in 4, 6, 7, 10, and 13 traffic violations per person, respectively. The convicted eighth-time or more DUI offenders were involved in 14,633 or an average of 17 traffic violations per person, including the eight or more DUI offences.

The data further indicated that among the 58.639 first-time DUI offenders, 12,314 were involved only in DUI offence, where the remaining 48,325 were involved in one DUI offence each plus other traffic violations for a total of 140,316 traffic violations. Similarly, among the 21,103 second-time DUI offenders, 3,482 were convicted of two-DUI offences each, the remaining 17,621 offenders being involved in 80,756 traffic violations including their 2-times DUI offences.

In other words, the multiple DUI offenders (40,749) committed a total of 206,269 traffic


In comparison, it is clear that where the convicted first-time DUI offenders, on an average, were involved 2.6 times in traffic violations, the multiple DUI offenders were, on an average, involved 5.9 times in traffic violations. Therefore, it can be concluded that these multiple DUI offenders were not only highly involved in traffic violations, but their driving behavior were also highly dangerous for themselves as well as for their communities.


Results of this study of convicted drinking-drivers in Tennessee coincide with earlier findings characterizing the alarming situation of the DUI offenders, especially the multiple-DUI offenders (1-3,9,11,12). It should be noted that the DUI offences committed (182,219) by these convicted drinking-drivers were 46% of their total traffic violations (394,283) until 1999. Although the number of fatal accidents was not remarkably high, the accidents involved in property damage and bodily injuries (85,324) were accounted for about 22% of the total traffic violations

committed by these DUI offenders. At the same time, minor traffic violations were not negligible, which made up about 32% of all traffic violations.

Although we do not have the information about the pre-conditional factors in drinking-driving, and attitudes of these DUI offenders, the pattern of their traffic violations draw a clear picture of their negligent driving behavior, which is especially true for the multiple-DUI offenders. The pattern of traffic violations further identifies the risk pattern of this DUI population. It is clear that whether it is one-time DUI offender or multiple-DUI offender, none of them could drive without committing any traffic violations. All of the DUI offenders were high risk drinking- drivers, but the multiple-DUI offenders were the highest risk drinking-drivers. Hence, it can be concluded that there are no experienced DUI drivers, who can drive safely after being impaired by alcohol and/or other drug intake.

It is true that this study was confined to Tennessee DUI drivers of 1999, so the implications of the results will be limited. However, it will not be unwise to conclude, based on these results, that the DUI offenders should not be treated lightly; they should be considered with more caution. The data indicated that on average the higher the number of DUI offences committed, the higher the number of total traffic violations committed per person. On the other hand, it can be suggested that these DUI offenders appear to be dangerous drivers, who did not show any responsibility to traffic regulations and/or human safety. Some programs should be developed to control their drinking-driving.


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Drunk Driving in Injury and Fatal Accidents in France in 2000 - Interaction between Alcohol and other Offences –

Filou, C.

2, Avenue du général Malleret Joinville, 94114 ARCUEIL Cedex France INRETS/DERA


This article relates the French situation of alcohol in injury accidents and examines especially the relations between alcohol and other offences.


The French statistics related to alcohol levels of drivers involved in injury accidents are

incomplete. Indeed, they affect only the number of breath tests and positive tests performed by police after all accidents (injury and damage). The results of alcohol levels by checking after positive tests and by direct blood sample (impossible breath test) are not taken into account.

Objectives and methods

An exact representation of the drunk driving (legal and illegal) in injury accidents must take in consideration the alcohol levels of all accident-involved drivers.

Two data were available in 2000: first, the national exhaustive injury accident file holding two variables according to "alcohol": method of detection (breath test, breathalyser, blood sample) and result (alcohol level) which is elaborated by police rapidly after the accident; secondly, the INRETS accident report file (1/50 of all reports) where the data and the practices are more

detailed and precise which has been performed later. We made an interrogation of these two files.


Two types of analysis may be introduced: analysis at individual driver and analysis at accident taking into account all drivers involved in the accident. Analysis at whole accident level is performed on the basis that an accident "without alcohol" corresponds to an accident in which no driver was over the legal limit and an accident is considered "with alcohol" if at least one driver was over the legal limit.

Comprehensive file

It contains 121,223 injury accidents (6,811 fatal).

Some results (according to the number of vehicle involved, the category and the sex of driver) are available, More than one injury accident out of ten (11%) is an accident "with alcohol". This ratio increases to more than one out of three (35%) for fatal accidents and 45% for the single vehicle


10,658 drivers (5.5%) had an illegal (over 0.49 g/l) alcohol rate (1,584 or 16.2% in fatal). For the pedestrian, the ratio is smaller in injury accidents (5.2%) but bigger in fatal one's (28.6%).

Figure 1: Illegal alcohol levels in accidents

The proportion of drivers with "illegal alcohol" rate is more important for men (6.7%) than for women (1.8%) but the ratio is reduced in fatal accidents (18.2% vs. 6.3%). Illegal alcohol fluctuates according to the vehicle.

Table 1: Drivers with "illegal alcohol" rate in accidents according to the vehicle

Vehicles Fatal accidents Injury accidents Bicycle

Moped Motorcycle Car

Delivery truck Truck

Bus Others

















Car drivers have the greatest proportion of "illegal alcohol" rate in injury accidents. But in fatal accident, the maximum concerns moped's drivers and the rate of motorcyclists is too greater than the one of car drivers. Whatever severity of the accident, bus and truck drivers are very respectful with the law on the alcohol.









0.50-0.79 g/l 0.80-1.19 g/l >= 1.20 g/l Injury accident Fatal accident



1,000 reports were examined. They involved 1,743 drivers and 138 pedestrians. Alcohol level is known in 80% accidents for 86% drivers.

Figure 2: Alcohol investigation practices for injury accidents Drivers involved in injury accidents

screening impossible

or refused

screening unknown

screening NOT performed

screening performed

8.2% 2.4% 8.0% 81.4%

blood test impossible

blood test positive


negative result

3.7% 4.5% 3.9% 77.5%


unknown negative

result positive


0.3% 2.2% 2.0%

The search of alcohol was carried out for only 86% drivers (81.4% by screening test with confirmation if the result was positive, confirmation by breathalyser or blood test and 4.5% by direct blood test).

We notes than when the screening had a positive result, first an illegal rate concerns only 93%

drivers and then, the alcohol level is higher if the confirmation is measured by blood test than by breathalyser and those in spite of a longer delay for the measure.

Table 2: Measures of the alcohol level after positive result by screening test Alcohol level (g/l) Blood test Breathalyser

<0.50 0.50-0.79 0.80-1.19 1.19-1.99

>= 2.00











Mean 1.81 g/l 0.71 mg/l

Delay 1h 45mn 1h 20mn

Variations are also observed between accidents "with alcohol" or "without alcohol" according to the localisation, the day and the time.

The proportion of drivers with "illegal alcohol" rate fluctuates with the age. It is maximum for


Figure 3: Drivers with illegal alcohol rate according to the age










0 to 17 y. 18 to 24 y. 25 to 39 y. 40 to 54 y. over 55 y.


Figure 4: Injury accident "with alcohol" according to the network

Injury accidents "with alcohol" were more frequent on rural than in urban area and this especially on main roads (that is new) but also on secondary roads. It is on the motorway that the legislation is the most respected.

Table 3: Injury accident "with alcohol" according to the day Day of the week Injury accidents with alcohol

Monday Tuesday Wednesday

Thursday Friday Saturday

Sunday Bank holiday









The injury accidents "with alcohol" are more frequent during the night especially between midnight and 4h.

The proportion of injury accidents "with alcohol" is bigger during the weekend especially on Sunday.







Motorway Main road Secondary road Other road


Figure 5: Injury accident "with alcohol" according to the time

In the reports, police indicates the traffic offences committed by the drivers involved in injury accidents (speed, priority, manoeuvre, overtaking, stamped papers, others…).

One or more "other" offence is founded among 47% drivers with "illegal alcohol" rate (vs. only 31% drivers with legal alcohol rate. Speed offence is correlated with alcohol infraction in 31%

cases. Lake of priority, helmet or seat belt not wearing and no insurance are less frequent.

The bigger proportion of drivers with legal alcohol rate who do not respect the priority must be explained: drivers with "illegal alcohol" rate are more involved in single accident out of













0-4h 4-8h 8-12h 12-16h 16-20h 20-24h


Figure 6: Drivers with other offences in injury accidents


In 1995, the alcohol legal limit was reduced to 0.5 g/l. It seems that this legislation has no influence on the number of drivers involved in injury accidents with "illegal alcohol" rate. Moreover, their mean alcohol rate did not decrease (2.15 g/l).

In the French legislation, the search of alcohol is compulsory for all drivers involved in injury accident. In fact, this search is carried out for only 88%. So, the searchers are very anxious to know the results about the search of drug in fatal accidents, which is compulsory since October 2001.

The link between illegal alcohol and speed offence in injury accidents is not surprising. However, the measures carried out on the road showed that the drivers with alcohol below the legal limit (between 0.01 and 0.24 g/l) exceed more the speed limits than those with "illegal alcohol" rate.









Speed offence Lake of priority Helmet or sealt belt not wearing

No insurance

Illegal alcohol Legal alcohol


Criminal Profiles of Drinking Drivers in Ontario

S. Stewart1, P. Boase2, A. Reid3

1 Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ontario Court of Justice, Room 155, Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 2M4,

2 Transport Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada,

3 Ontario Provincial Police, Orillia, Ontario, Canada


Accident, Alcohol Intoxication, Criminals, Driving Under the Influence, Conviction Abstract

The paper reviews the criminal and driving history of a sub-sample of 99 drivers drawn randomly from drivers charged with criminal alcohol related driving offences in Toronto, Canada after the implementation of the immediate ninety- day administrative driver licence suspension (A.D.L.S.) in November, 1996. These data, referred to herein as the 1998 sample, and results are compared to the 1996 sample, which was reported on previously (1), to determine changes, if any, in the characteristics, as reflected in the criminal and driving records of those charged with drinking and driving related criminal offences in the face of the deterrent of the immediate ninety- day licence suspension. The paper reviews whether the immediate ninety day A.D.L.S. has deterred drivers with previous criminal or significant driver histories. Findings from the 1998 sub-sample that are distinct from the 1996 sub-sample findings are reported on. Some of the measurements in the 1998 sample are either the same as, or have little differential with the 1996 sub-sample and are not reported on.


In Canada, driving while impaired and having a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 80mgs, as well as refusing to provide a breath sample upon request of a police officer, are criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. The criminal sanctions (minimum fine of $300 and a minimum three-month driving prohibition for a first conviction, with increasing penalties including minimum jail terms for subsequent convictions) were unchanged in 1998; however, the Province of Ontario implemented the immediate ninety- day A.D.L.S. Subsequent to the time of this sub-sample, the Criminal Code was amended with regard to penalties and sentencing. For example, as a result of the 1999 amendments, the minimum fine is $600 with a minimum 12 month driving prohibition and a BAC of over 160mgs became an aggravating factor in

sentencing. Unlike those in the 1996 sample, the 1998 drivers faced an immediate and relatively significant consequence, upon detection, of losing their driver’s licence for ninety days

irrespective of the outcome of any criminal charges.


The relevant document flow for a drinking and driving related criminal conviction in Ontario changed. The process remains the same, starting with the police charging the driver and serving the applicable notice related to the A.D.L.S. Charging documents are entered into the integrated court offences network and proceed through the judicial system. If a conviction is registered, for either a criminal or provincial driving related offence, the law requires the court office to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The notification process changed from a manual one to an automated one in 1998, with the exception of criminal conviction information from the Superior Court of Justice which is still transmitted manually. Very few drinking and driving charges are heard in this court; however those that are generally involve death or serious bodily harm. In order to ensure that the charges and dispositions appear on the driver’s criminal record, the charging police service that receives the information from the court office must notify the Canadian Police Information Centre. Merging the records should provide a profile on the complete driving and criminal history of an individual.

Materials and Method

Information on 957 drivers who had been stopped and charged for a drinking and driving related criminal offence by the Toronto Police Service in 1997 and 1998 was obtained and compared to the 880 drivers in the 1996 sample. A sub-sample of 99 drivers was randomly selected from the 1998 sample and the criminal and driving records were manually retrieved and assessed, with the results compared to the 1996 sub-sample.

Some of the information reported on for the 1996 sub-sample, such as the reason for the arrest and the blood alcohol concentrations is not available for the 1998 sample. Where possible, a similar analysis of the 1998 data was undertaken. The results were compared with the 1996 measurements and differences reported on. Of the 99 drivers in the sub-sample, 6% were female and 94% were male. They ranged in age from 18 to 79 years of age (22- 73 in 1996), with the median age category being thirty to forty years old.


Of the 99 drivers sampled, provincial driver records for all but one were located, a substantial improvement over the 1996 result of 15 unmatched records. A similar improvement was seen in the number of drivers without either a criminal or a provincial driver record match, which went from 7 in 1996 to only 1 in 1998. Conversely, the failure rate for the criminal record match increased from 2 to 9 drivers. Ten drivers (6 in 1996) had no record of the 1998 arrest on neither the criminal nor provincial driver record. Eliminating the drivers with record retrieval issues produces a sub-sample of 88 drivers with both criminal and provincial driver records unless otherwise noted.

Of the 98 drivers with provincial driving records, 30 % (31% in 1996) were not licenced or suspended at the time of the driver record search (February, 2000) and an additional 3 drivers were never licenced. One driver was suspended for life as a result of a 1999 conviction (Ontario law was amended in 1998 to provide for escalating suspensions upon conviction including suspension for life on a fourth conviction. The record search period for calculating the convictions cannot go back further than September 30, 1993).

Twenty-three percent (20% in 1996) of the suspended drivers were suspended as a result of an unpaid fine and 36% (50% in 1996) were under suspension because they were convicted of a


drinking and driving criminal offence. Three drivers were suspended for both a drinking and driving conviction and driving while disqualified or suspended and one for medical reasons. Five drivers (2 in 1996) remained unlicenced or suspended at the time of the search despite the fact that the reinstatement date preceded the search date. Three drivers who should have been unlicenced appeared as licenced.

Of the 89 drivers in 1998 with matching criminal records, 8% refused to provide a sample on request (11% in 1996). In addition to the drinking and driving related criminal charges, one driver was charged at the same time with a drug-related offence, down significantly from the nine drivers in 1996, although 11 of the drivers had drug related matters on their criminal record (two with extensive drug related records). A number of other criminal or provincial charges were also laid arising out of the same incident including failing to stop for police (two drivers), fail to remain, drive while disqualified and care and control (one driver). As with the drug offences, this is markedly different from the earlier sub-sample in that fewer drivers faced additional criminal charges at the same time and the charges that they did face were not as assorted. The 1996 sample included criminal harassment, resisting arrest, obstruction and assault.

In reviewing the criminal profile of the sampled drivers (89), just over 30% (45% in 1996) of the drivers were found to have other, non-drinking and driving related criminal charges or

convictions by charge date, including parole violation, unlawfully at large, sexual assault, fail to appear, obstruction, assault and narcotic offences. One driver had been convicted on 18 prior occasions of one or more offences, but only one was a driving related criminal offence. Four of the drivers also had convictions for non-drinking and driving criminal offences post-1998. In reviewing the provincial driver records for the 98 drivers, 86% (58% in 1996) had non-alcohol related, provincial offence convictions such as careless driving, speeding, failing to report collision and drive with no insurance.

The following tables show the incidence of selected convictions, as a percentage, on the driver records forthe entire 1996 (721) and 1998 (748) driver samples respectively. The results seem similar for the two samples, except there appears to be more drivers with a previous alcohol infraction on record. This likely reflects improved automated record exchange related to the new processes associated with ADLS.

Table 1: Convictions for Selected Charges

1996 1998

Offence/Number 0 1 Multiple 0 1 Multiple

Careless 84% 14% 2% 82% 14% 4%

Driving While Suspended 86% 9% 4% 85% 9% 6%

Impaired/Blow over .08 26% 42% 32% 20% 49% 31%

Fail to Report Collision 90% 9% 2% 87% 11% 2%

Speeding 30% 19% 52% 28% 17% 55%

Other HTA Convictions 22% 19% 59% 24% 17% 59%


With regard to drinking and driving charges and dispositions, 34% (36% in 1996) of the drivers with criminal records available had drinking and driving related charges or convictions prior to the 1998 arrest. Thirty percent (10% of the total) had multiple priors, ranging from 5 drivers (12 in 1996) with 2 priors to 3 drivers with 3 priors to 1 driver (3 in 1996) with 5 priors. This

represents a significant decline over the 1996 finding of 52 percent or 18% of the total drivers.

The number of multiple priors per driver has also declined sharply over 1996; however, in contrast to the one driver in 1996, five drivers in 1998 had drinking and driving related convictions subsequent to the 1998 arrest. Three drivers were convicted of other criminal offences at the same court appearance as the drinking and driving charge, one each of break and enter & possession; theft and escape lawful custody.

Of the number of drivers with criminal records, twelve (13%) had no indication or record of the 1998 sub-sample charges. This represents a decrease over the 1996 result of 23%. Three of the seven drivers charged with impaired and refuse to provide a breath sample were only convicted of impaired. One driver was convicted of impaired driving but had the charges of dangerous driving and fail to stop withdrawn. Eight drivers (3 in 1996) had the charges dismissed, stayed or withdrawn. The balance of the drivers (77%) were subsequently convicted of the drinking and driving related criminal charges – either drive over, impaired or impaired and refuse-an increase from 1996 of over twenty percent.

Eight-five of the drivers arrested in 1998 had a corresponding A.D.L.S. on the driver record. One of the drivers had a subsequent A.D.L.S. imposed while under a drinking and driving conviction related suspension. Four drivers who should have had an A.D.L.S. on the driver record did not, with four more drivers having no record of an A.D.L.S. or of the arrest. One driver charged with impaired and refused did not have the suspension on record even though the refusal qualifies the driver for the suspension. The balance of the drivers appear to have been charged with only impaired driving, which does not attract the suspension under provincial law. A review of the driver records indicates that 14 drivers (16% of those with a suspension) have had two

administrative driver licence suspensions imposed between the start date of November 1996 and the record search date (February, 2000).

A number of drivers had an A.D.L.S. on the provincial driver record but had no indication on the corresponding criminal record of the 1998 related charges. Nine drivers had an administrative driver licence suspension on the driver record but no subsequent record, criminal or provincial, of any related charges or outcomes. Seven of these drivers (one driver in 1996) had a conviction for careless driving on the driver record that appeared to correspond to the A.D.L.S.

The records were reviewed to determine the number of months (to the nearest month) between the 1998 arrest and the disposition (conviction or dismissal) of the resulting charges. The range was from one day to 25 months, somewhat lower than in 1996. In 1998, 40% of the 76 drivers in the group had dispositions in six months or less; 47% in 12 months or less, with the balance taking from 13 - 25 months. Two of the drivers appear to have plead guilty to secure release from custody after arrest as the dispositions were one and five days from the arrest date. Accused persons released from custody by the police would not appear in court for at least seven days. A person may be held in custody for a judicial interim release hearing before a judicial officer.

Individuals who have little chance of release for whatever reason will sometimes plead guilty to the offence charged rather than remain in custody until trial, which could take three months or


more. Where a conviction resulted, the average time from charge to disposition was just over seven (9 in 1996) months (The two drivers convicted in one and five days were eliminated); for those not convicted it was ten months (11.6 months in 1996). The criminal and driver records of convicted drivers were reviewed to determine if the drivers received the appropriate criminal sentence as well as the appropriate administrative consequence. Of the convicted drivers with a criminal record, fifty had a prohibition order recorded as part of the sentence while twenty-one (just under 30%) drivers had no prohibition recorded. This is an increase over the 23% of

convicted drivers with no corresponding prohibition in the 1996 sub-sample. Administratively, all drivers with the convictions on the driver record appear to have received the appropriate

provincial suspension.

Fore the full sample of drivers in the 1998 sample , by individual driver, 163 had no collision involvement on record, 224 had one collision, 152 had two collisions, 95 had 3 collisions and the remaining 114 drivers had more than 3 collisions on the record including 3 drivers with 12 or more on the record. This is almost identical to the 1996 data except that there was only one driver with 12 or more collisions during the time period.


The results indicate that there has been a substantial improvement in record keeping with the introduction of automated transmittal between the court offices and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This improvement ensures that more convicted drinking drivers will receive the full scope of provincial, administrative consequences of any driving related criminal conviction as well as the corresponding treatment. Ontario has a remedial measures program, consisting of education and treatment units and will soon implement a post-conviction program of alcohol ignition interlock. Of concern, however, is the increased failure rate in matching drivers with criminal records. This could be reflective of a number of issues, such as fingerprinting or record follow up with the charging police agency or the Canadian Police Information Centre. It would appear that the driver record has become the best record of previous alcohol related driving convictions. This is not likely a serious issue, as long as the police check both records for previous conviction information. However, if only the criminal record is searched for non- driving related matters, such as at a bail hearing, then a drinking driver may benefit from the lack of a complete record. This situation is also likely to support the perception that drinking and driving criminal offences are not really criminal, but driving, in nature.

Significantly fewer drivers were detected in the 1998 sub-sample with drugs and fewer drivers in the 1998 sub-sample refused to provide a sample on demand. Those in the later group, as in 1996, appeared to have a reasonable prospect of not being convicted of the refusal charge. The number of drivers who had the charges stayed, dismissed or withdrawn has increased (8 versus 3).

Overall, the percentage of drivers convicted as a result of the arrest has increased by over 20%

over 1996. The time taken to convict those drivers decreased by almost two months over 1996.

Even for those who had the charges dismissed, the time to disposition decreased by a month and a half. The decrease in time from arrest to disposition is difficult to attribute directly to A.D.L.S.

Fourteen drivers had the charges disposed of in two months or less, possibly because drivers under an A.D.L.S are permitted to have the suspension run concurrent (at the same time) as any conviction related suspension. The record information does not indicate whether a plea of guilty


within three months of arrest are pleas of guilty as the criminal justice system in Ontario does not accommodate trials for those not in custody within three months.

The introduction of A.D.L.S. and the corresponding entry onto the provincial driver record allows for charged drivers to be monitored irrespective of the outcome of the criminal charges. In the context of the Canadian criminal justice system, this allows for a fuller assessment of the number of drinking drivers who meet or exceed the criminal standard. Alcohol involvement on the part of drivers subsequently convicted of careless driving, with the same offence date, can be monitored for research purposes. However, pleading to careless is an advantage to the driver as the driver avoids the possibility of being identified as a repeat offender on a subsequent offence and also avoids the more immediate consequence of the onerous provincial sanctions that flow from conviction for a criminal driving offence.

While the percentage of drivers with prior drinking and driving charges or convictions did not change appreciably, the percentage with multiple priors decreased over 20%. The number of drivers with subsequent arrests increased in the 1998 sub-sample. Five drivers, as opposed to the one in 1996, had post-1998 charges or convictions. Sixteen percent (14) of the drivers with an A.D.L.S. imposed have incurred two A.D.L.S.’s subsequent to the implementation in November 1996 and the record search (February, 2000). Clearly, A.D.L.S. allows for the immediate, point in time identification of the drinking and driving behavior as opposed to the pre-A.D.L.S.

environment. A.D.L.S. is only available when the driver is charged with drive over or refuse, not impaired driving or other criminal driving related offences.

In conclusion, the comparison of the two sub-samples primarily showed an improvement. Fewer drivers faced other charges at the same time, fewer had a previous criminal record and fewer had prior drinking and driving charges. The fact that the number of drivers unlicenecd or suspended at the time of search remained the same may indicate that something happens to drivers charged with drinking and driving criminal offences. Some of these drivers should have been licenced, leaving open the possibility that they become disinterested in remaining in the driver licencing regime or that they subsequently leave the jurisdiction or willfully choose to be unlicenced.


The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Constable Jeff Patrick of the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the considerable work in providing the samples and all necessary subsequent record retrieval.


1. Stewart, S., Boase, P. and Lamble, R.W. (2000). Criminal Profiles of Drinking Drivers in Ontario. International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic, Stockholm, Sweden.


Driver Resistance

Mark B. Johnson, James E. Lange, & Tara Kelley Baker

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

11710 Beltsville Drive, Suite 300, Calverton, Maryland, 20705 USA


Heavy drinking, motivation, sex differences, designated driver, groups, normative influence Abstract

Young people do the majority of their drinking within small groups. This research examines the

intersection between individuals’ intentions to drink and the perceived group norm for drinking on actual drinking behavior. The paper suggests that individuals’ unique drinking motivations may be expressions of different group roles. The data show that the role of “driver” within groups may protect individuals from normative group pressure. The importance of understanding the processes of group construction is discussed.


It has been widely acknowledged that young people do the majority of their drinking within groups of peers. Given the social nature of drinking, researchers have examined the influence of social factors – such as group norms and group characteristics – on the drinking behavior of individuals (e.g., Collins, Parks, & Marlatt [1]; Aitken [2]). Although evidence suggests that normative group drinking pressure does exist, the unique motivations and attitudes of individuals within groups clearly play a role in drinking behavior as well. For example, individuals’

intentions to get drunk, their belief that alcohol facilitates social interaction (3), and their belief that drinking was an important part of college (4) all predict drinking behavior.

However, the characteristics of the group and the individual motivations of group members are not completely independent. Part of the unique individual variations within groups may be expressions of different group roles. Limited attention has been paid to the social construction of groups, and researchers have failed to examine closely how individual group members – with their unique motivations and beliefs – select other members to fill specific group roles. Social roles within naturally formed groups of friends may be functional, and although not necessarily stable or easy to define, they may have specific purposes for facilitating the group’s goals.

Within drinking groups, perhaps the role of driver is easiest to study because the role is salient, consciously known, functional, and usually acknowledged by all group members. Further, when it comes to drinking, the role of driver is predictive of very different drinking behaviors. Among groups of young people, the driver is more likely to refrain from drinking or to drink considerably less than their peers (e.g., Foss and Beirness [5]; Lange & Voas [6]). It is interesting that drivers


enter into the same drinking environment as their peers – where normative pressures to drink should be at their peek – and yet are able to maintain sobriety.

The lower BACs typically found among drivers may occur (a) because situational factors that influence drinking (i.e., alcohol availability, loose regulation, normative environment that fosters

‘party’ attitude) affect drivers differently than they do passengers, or (b) because individuals whose motivations and beliefs make them likely to drink less are selected by the group to be the driver. This research examines both possibilities. The paper first reports on role of the driver within groups and how this role relates to drinking behavior and drinking intentions; the paper then address how the role of driver may attenuate normative pressures to drink. Finally, the paper examines factors that may predispose individuals to be assigned to role of driver.


An opportunity to examine situational influences, individual intentions, and the interaction between the two became available from ongoing survey of drinkers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Beginning in the fall of 1997, researchers at the crossing between San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico, have randomly sampled whole groups of U.S. residents (aged 18–30) en route to the bars and nightclubs south of the border. These participants were asked to provide basic demographic information about themselves, whether or not they drove to the border, information on their drinking history, their drinking intentions for the evening, and their perceptions of the drinking intentions of other group members. The researchers gave a hospital-style identification bracelet and took a breathalyzer test from each participant. These groups of participants were re-sampled upon their return across the border into San Diego, asked to provide information on their drinking behavior while in Tijuana, and given a second breath test.

Between October 1997 and March 2000, entry and exit data were collected from 687 groups that contained at least one driver (some groups reach the border via taxi, trolley, or some other transportation). These groups comprised 2,369 participants. Because participants were clustered in naturally occurring groups, statistical assumptions of independent observations were tenuous.

Therefore, most analyses were conducted using PROC MIXED in SAS (Version 8.0) to account for the clustered nature of the data. For purposes of analyses, the sample was split into two halves: one exploratory, the other confirmatory. Thus, attempts were made to replicate analyses in both samples. Although the results of analyses conducted on the confirmatory sample are not described below, only those findings from the exploratory sample that were replicated are presented.


The first analysis was designed to test for differences in returning BACs between participants crossing the border as drivers and as passengers. As predicted, analysis of the first sample revealed that for both men and women, BACs of drivers were significantly lower than they were for passengers [F (1, 517) = 19.3, p< .01; F (1, 439) = 8.82, p<.01, for men and women

respectively]. The average BAC of male drivers was .023, relative to .061 for male passengers.

Similarly, the average BAC of female drivers was .020, relative to .050 for passengers.

Next, we examined the extent to which participants’ drinking intentions (i.e., the extent to which they planned to drink before actually going to the bars) predicted their BACs. Participants

indicated their intentions to “Not Drink,” “Get a Slight Buzz,” or “Get Drunk.” For both men and


women, analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between drinking intentions before entering Tijuana and returning BACs [F (2, 517) = 53.2, p<.01; F (2, 439) = 35.7, p<.01].

Participants who intended to drink more heavily did indeed return with significantly higher BACs. Mean BACs were .016, .038, and .068; female BACs were .010, .040, and .067 for the three levels of drinking intentions, respectively.

However, an analysis that was conducted to examine the interaction between drinking intentions and driving status failed to produce a statistically significant effect. Thus, both drivers and passengers tended to drink to the same extent as indicated by their drinking plans. A subsequent analysis, which treated drinking plans as a three-point scale variable, revealed that drivers planned to drink less than passengers, F (1, 1056) = 182.9, p< .01. The mean drinking-intentions score was 1.8 for drivers and 2.4 for passengers. There were no differences in drinking intentions between men and women.

Because drinking intentions was shown to be predictive of returning BACs regardless of driver status, a series of analyses were conducted to examine one normative factor that might predict drinking intentions. It is possible that bar-goers base their drinking intentions in part on the Perceived Drinking Climate (PDC; i.e., on their expectations regarding how much alcohol others in their immediate social group plan to drink). Individuals who believe that their drinking

companions will consume heavily may consume heavily as well. However, if the designated driver concept is used appropriately, we might predict that drivers’ drinking intentions will remain low regardless of the PDC.

Analysis of group size revealed no statistically reliable results across the two samples. However, regressing drinking intentions onto driver status, PDC, and their interaction did reveal statistically significant effects, and these differed between men and women. For men, the main effect of PDC, F (2, 513) = 35.6, p< .01, was statistically significant;1 those who perceived that others in their group would drink heavily planned to drink more heavily as well. The interaction between PDC and driver status was not significant (p<.09). However, a planned contrast was conducted to compare the drinking intentions of drivers who indicated that others in their group did not plan to drink with drivers who indicated that others in their group planned to get very drunk. The results revealed that for male drivers, PDC did indeed predict drinking intentions, F (1, 513) = 17.5, p<.01. This pattern is depicted in Figure 1a.

For women, however, the results differed. As with men, PDC did predict drinking intentions, F (2, 434) = 18.2, p< .01.1 However, in contrast to the men, the interaction was statistically significant as well, F (2, 434) = 9.2, p< .01. The nature of this interaction was revealed through the planned contrast. Although PDC was related to the drinking intentions of female passengers, the relationship between PDC and drinking intentions for female drivers was not statistically significant. This pattern is illustrated in Figure 1b.


Figure 1: Predicting Drinking Plans from Drinking Climate and Driver Status

1a. Men 1b. Women

To examine factors that might predict who will be the driver after the group has been drinking, analyses examined two driver characteristics. Analyses were conducted to determine whether recent history of heavy drinking and implicit alcohol attitudes predicted driver status within groups. First, we hypothesized that individuals who did not have a recent history of heavy drinking (defined by consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion over the past 4 weeks) were more likely to be the driver. However, chi-square analysis (adjusting the expected

frequencies according to group size) failed to find a statistically significant relationship between driver status and recent heavy drinking.

Second, we examined drivers’ implicit alcohol attitudes. Implicit alcohol attitudes were measured using the Alcohol Association Scale (AAS; 7), a word association instrument designed to tap into implicit attitudes and mental representations of alcohol. Scores on this measure ranged from .00 to 1.00. Participants with higher scores were thought to associate alcohol with aggressive

concepts, whereas participants with lower scores were thought to associate alcohol with amiable experiences. We predicted that drivers would tend to have higher AAS scores (i.e., a more

negative association with alcohol) than would passengers. For men, analysis revealed that drivers did indeed have higher (more negative) AAS scores than did passengers, F (1, 522) = 5.23, p<.05, driver M = .45, passenger M = .39. However, the pattern was not statistically reliable across samples from women.


Individuals’ drinking intentions for that evening was a strong predictor of drinking behavior as measured by BACs. These intentions not only may reflect unique and personal motivations, but also could reflect role norms (e.g., being the designated driver) as well as group norms. One interpretation of the results presented herein is that group norms and role norms can be

countervailing. The role of the driver amongst drinking groups dictates maintaining sobriety to ensure a safe drive home. However, the perception that the drinking climate for that evening will be heavy, moderate, light, and so on may implicitly establish a group norm; normative pressures may influence drinking behavior. The relationship between PDC and passenger drinking

intentions is consistent with this contention.



2.0 2.0



0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0

1 2 3

Driver Passenger Driver Passenger

Drinking Plans

Drinking Climate

Not drink Slight buzz Get drunk


1.8 1.8




0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0

1 2 3

Driver Passenger Driver Passenger

Drinking Climate

Drinking Plans

Not drink Slight buzz Get drunk


How does PDC relate to drinking intentions of drivers? The results suggest that women are better able to resist normative pressures to drink; the drinking intentions of female drivers remained low regardless of the PDC. Perhaps for women, the role and responsibility of being a driver was clearer and better defined, and this attenuated other normative influence. Conversely, male drivers planned to engage in heavier drinking to the extent that they perceived that other group members would drink heavily. It appears that male driver were less able to resist normative pressures to drink.

The analysis of individual’s implicit alcohol attitudes suggests that, at least for men, individuals who have a negative association with alcohol are more likely to be drivers within groups. This pattern was not found among women drivers. The results also failed to reveal a relationship between driver status and recent heavy drinking history.

These results are consistent with the interpretation that role norms and larger group norms can compete for influence of drinking intentions. Perhaps, by more clearly defining the role and responsibilities of being a driver, drivers may be better able to resist normative pressures. Our understanding of drinking behavior may benefit from further research that addresses the way drinking groups are constructed and the nature of roles within groups.


1. Collins RL, Parks GA, Marlatt GA. Social determinants of alcohol consumption: The effects of social interaction and model status on the self-administration of alcohol. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1985; 53:189–200.

2. Aitken PP. An observational study of young adults’ drinking groups—II. Drink purchasing procedures, group pressures and alcohol consumption by companions as predictors of alcohol consumption. Alcohol Alcohol. 1985; 20:445–457.

3. Beck KH, Treiman KA. The relationship of social context of drinking, perceived social norms, and parental influence to various drinking patterns of adolescents. Addictive Behaviors. 1996; 21:633–644.

4. Wechsler H, Davenport A, Dowdall G, Moeykens B, Castillo S. Health and behavioral consequences of binge drinking in college: A national survey of students at 140 campuses.

JAMA. 1994; 272:1672–1677.

5. Foss RD, Beirness DJ. Drinking passengers and their drivers: Roadside survey results. 40th Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

Chicago: Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine; 1996:263–273.

6. Lange JE, Voas RB. Youth escaping limits on drinking: Binging in Mexico. Addiction. 2000;


7. Lange JE. Alcohol's effect on aggression identification: A Two-channel Theory. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2002; 16:47-55.


Social-cultural characteristics of DWI drivers compared with drug-alcohol-free drivers

S. Zancaner, R. Giorgetti, G. Frison, Boscolo Mia, S.D. Ferrara

Dipartimento di Medicina Ambientale e Sanità Pubblica, sede di Medicina Legale, Università degli Studi di Padova, via Falloppio n. 50, 35121 PADOVA, Italy.


The study analyzes a population of drivers stopped during some highway police checks. The population has been divided into subgroups according to the presence of alcohol and drugs in the biological fluids. Social and cultural characteristics have been considered for each group.


Some toxicological forensic tests have been carried out from 1997 to 2000 to prevent driving under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive substances, in collaboration with the Highway Police Department of Veneto and the Italian Red Cross. The tests have been done especially during weekend nights; the activity has been partially done within the project ROSITA (ROad SIde Testing Assessment), which is a multicentric European study.

Car drivers have been stopped by the police, submitted to medical examinations, and samples of blood and/or urine have been taken. Toxicological tests have been done on biological samples to detect alcohol and psychoactive substances.

The population studied has been divided into subgroups on the basis of the results of the

toxicological analyses; the present work makes a comparison of social and cultural characteristics of car drivers belonging to each group.

Materials and methods

The population studied is made up of 1,977 subjects driving motor vehicles (1,894 males, 83 females); at least one sample of the biological fluids has been examined for each subject.

Each subject has been informed about the methodology of the tests and the consequences of a possible refusal (punishment as if driving in a state of intoxication); then they have been

submitted to a medical examination including collecting of general clinical details and samples of biological fluids; 1,748 blood samples and 1,702 urine samples have been taken.

The following groups of subjects have been considered:

ƒ BAC from 10 to 80 mg/100 ml;

ƒ BAC over 80 mg/100 ml, sanctioned under Italian law for driving under the influence of