Disqualified Drivers in Victoria: Literature Review and Focus Group Study

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #274 [2008]

Authors: B. Clark & I. Bobevski

Full report in .pdf format [912KB]

Abstract:

This report outlines a two phase project into disqualified drivers in Victoria . The first phase of the project comprised a review of the literature related to licence disqualification and explored the feasibility of conducting an in-depth study of disqualified drivers in Victoria . The second phase of the project, which resulted from the feasibility study, involved conducting an in-depth investigation into the behaviours and attitudes of disqualified drivers, including contributing family and social influences. Forty disqualified drivers participated in seven focus group discussions and 13 partners/parents of disqualified drivers participated in three separate focus group discussions. The results showed that approximately 60% of the driver participants continued to drive during disqualification. The following factors were found to have a key influence on the decision to drive during disqualification: negative attitudes towards the sanction; denial of the risk of one's own driving behaviours; very low perceptions of the risk of detection; personal and vicarious experiences of punishment avoidance; and negative attitudes towards alternatives. The most common reason provided for the decision to continue driving was to maintain one's employment, although driving for family and social reasons was also commonly reported. Most participants described personal hardships caused by the sanction, with this impact being greatest for those who adhered to the sanction and stopped driving. The majority of partners/parents also reported being negatively affected, as the sanction resulted in extra burdens for them and often created relationship tensions. Many partners/parents expressed concern about their partners'/children's dangerous driving behaviours and the ineffectiveness of the sanctions in deterring illegal driving behaviours. The findings of the present study were consistent with previous research. Recommendations were made for further research into Victorian Registration and Licensing data and Victorian crash data to quantify the number of disqualified drivers and the extent of the risk they pose on the road. Recommendations were also made for publicity campaigns to raise the perceived risk of detection, improvements in enforcement (e.g., increased checking of licences at RBT sites; possible extension of compulsory carriage of licence legislation), and the design and implementation of best practice rehabilitation programs.

Sponsoring organisation - Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads