Fell, J. C.
; and Yan, A. F. Traffic Injury Prevention
, vol. 10, pgs. 312-319 (2009)Abstract: Objectives: To examine the beliefs, behaviors, and knowledge of drivers concerning drunk driving and to compare those with greater or lesser perceptions of risk of being caught driving while impaired.
Methods: A random-digit-dial telephone survey was conducted of 850 licensed drivers throughout Maryland who reported their driving behaviors, crash history, beliefs about various alcohol countermeasures, and their knowledge of state alcohol laws.
Results: Most drivers (72%) did not feel that it was very likely that they would be stopped by the police if they drove after having too much to drink (low-risk perceivers). High-risk perceivers (28%) felt that it was very likely that they would be stopped and most (70%) felt that it was very likely that they would be arrested and convicted. Less than half (45%) of the low-risk perceivers felt that they would be arrested and convicted if they drove impaired. High-risk perceivers were significantly more likely to be non-white, less likely to drive 10 mph above the speed limit, but were more likely have five or more tickets in their lifetime and believed that sobriety checkpoints are effective. They were also more aware of laws regarding mandatory use of ignition interlocks for repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders and the zero tolerance law for under-21-year-old drivers.
Conclusion: There is a need to elevate the perceived risk of being caught when driving while alcohol impaired. Despite several years of prevention programs, a substantial portion of Maryland drivers do not feel it very likely that they would be stopped by the police if they were to drive after drinking too much. Drivers who perceive these risks are more accepting of enforcement and treatment countermeasures and are more likely to report safer driving behaviors.