Relative deterrence of infringements for risky driving behaviours: does time to next infringement differ based on offence type?

Ms Hayley McDonald1, Associate Professor Janneke Berecki-Gisolf1, Dr Karen Stephan1, Associate Professor Stuart Newstead1
1Monash University Accident Research Centre, Monash University, Australia

In 2017, 1226 people died in accidents on Australian roads. Whilst these accidents have many contributing factors, illegal driving behaviour increases their likelihood. Drivers found violating a road rule in most cases receive an infringement, requiring payment of a fine and demerit points placed on their licence. These infringements have a specific deterrence aim. If drivers are successfully deterred, they should change their driving behaviour to avoid receiving further traffic infringements. The aim of our study was to examine the relative deterrence effect of infringements for different traffic offence types, different fine amounts and number of demerit points issued.

Using VicRoads data, we analysed licensing and infringements records. Drivers in our study received their first Victorian licence after January 1st 1990 and were born on or before December 31st 1974. We followed each drivers’ full Victorian licence history through to May 21st 2016. Using time-to-event analysis, we explored the time between infringements, censoring drivers who did not reoffend.

Records for 1,044,358 drivers were used. 631,255 drivers had at least one traffic infringement and 422,003 had received at least two. Within 6.40 years of first licence, 50% of drivers had received an infringement. Within 2.45 years after first infringement, 50% of those drivers received a further infringement. This presentation will report the results of our analyses, and consider the relative effectiveness of the current Victorian driving infringements system in achieving deterrence from further traffic offending, for a range of offence types including speeding, drink and drug driving and mobile phone use.


Hayley McDonald has completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Criminology from Monash University and a Graduate Certificate of Applied Statistics from Swinburne University. She is currently completing her PhD with the Monash University Accident Research Centre, looking at the deterrence of risky and illegal driving behaviours.


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