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Journal Article


McCartt AT, Geary LL, Berning A. Inj. Prev. 2003; 9(2): 133-137.


Preusser Research Group, Inc, Trumbull, Connecticut, USA.


(Copyright © 2003, BMJ Publishing Group)








OBJECTIVE: To determine the proportion of first time driving while alcohol impaired (DWI) offenders who drive while their driver's license is suspended. DESIGN: Systematic, unobtrusive observations were conducted by surveillance professionals from Pinkerton Investigative Services, Inc, of first time offenders in the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Bergen County, New Jersey. Observations included two four hour periods during suspension (one weekday morning, one Friday/Saturday evening) and two four hour periods after license reinstatement (matched by day of week and time of day). Focus groups of first time offenders were conducted in each site. SETTING: New Jersey laws pertaining to license suspension for DWI and driving while suspended are stronger than Wisconsin laws. SUBJECTS: 93 recently convicted first time DWI offenders (57 in Milwaukee and 36 in Bergen County). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of subjects observed driving during suspension and after license reinstatement, with reference to all subjects and subjects observed traveling by any means. RESULTS: Of subjects observed traveling while suspended, 88% of Milwaukee subjects compared with 36% of Bergen County subjects drove. Five percent of Milwaukee subjects and 78% of Bergen County subjects reinstated their driver's license. Bergen County subjects were significantly more likely to drive after reinstatement (54%) than during suspension (25%). CONCLUSION: Prevalence of driving while suspended among first time offenders is high and can vary substantially between jurisdictions. However, the license suspension can have a positive impact on the driving patterns of offenders during suspension, relative to after license reinstatement. Lower prevalence of driving while suspended in New Jersey may partly be attributable to that state's tougher laws.


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