A new study has shown that most drink drivers convicted in court for the first time are not first-time offenders, with 80 percent admitting to drink-driving at least once in the six months prior to being caught.
As part of a study into reducing drink-driving, the Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety surveyed more than 200 first-time convicted drink drivers after they appeared in the Magistrates Court.
"Most of these convicted drink drivers admitted to driving over the limit previously, and a quarter of them said that they believed that everybody drinks and drives once in a while," researcher Hollie Wilson said.
A series of follow-up interviews also revealed that 27 percent of convicted offenders had driven while over the legal blood alcohol limit in the six months following their conviction.
"Twelve months after we originally interviewed the offenders, we checked the traffic records of 137 and found 7.3 per cent had recorded another drink driving conviction," Ms Wilson said.
"This is a large percentage of offenders who re-offend in a short time period and even more who drink and drive without being caught."
The results showed that most first-time offenders are males under 35 years old, with a full licence.
Ms Wilson said that most offenders interviewed had a limited knowledge of standard drinks and the metabolism of alcohol in relation to their blood alcohol content. They also showed positive attitudes toward using strategies to avoid drink-driving, but "seemed unable to plan as to how they would do this."
The results of the study will be used by the centre to develop a computer-based intervention program to reduce the rate of re-offending drink drivers.
Ms Wilson said the findings from the study indicated a prevention program needed to focus on:
- increasing knowledge about alcohol and drink driving information levels
- strengthening and supporting anti-drink driving attitudes
- increasing the likelihood of using alternative strategies to drink driving
- challenging the high levels of drinking reported by most offenders
- finding ways to help offenders to reduce their alcohol consumption levels
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