Out of Control Policy Blog

Tougher drunk driving laws flop down under

After six years of tougher drunk driving laws in Australia, a new study says the rate of alcohol-related car accidents has not changed:

The study looked at two groups of people convicted for drink-driving in NSW either side of the law's introduction - one during 1997 and the other during 1999.
Each group was tracked for at least three years to measure the proportion of those who reoffended and the length of time they took to do so.

In Sydney, there was no change in the proportion of people reoffending or the length of time they took to reoffend. In country areas there was a 3 per cent reduction in the proportion of people reoffending, while those who reoffended took slightly longer to reoffend.

Dr Weatherburn said a public perception that there was only a small chance of getting caught drink driving was probably a reason the laws had failed to make an impact.

Then again, the laws did result in a 47 percent increase in the average fine, which for many politicians in the States, would be solid evidence of success. The line between public safety and revenue generation gets blurrier all the time.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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