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Accid Anal Prev. 2002 May;34(3):263-70.

Vehicle action: effective policy for controlling drunk and other high-risk drivers?

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Pacific Instittute Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD 20705-3102, USA.


License suspension effectively reduces recidivism and crash involvement of those convicted of driving while impaired (DWI). The impact of this sanction, however, is being reduced by the large number of offenders (up to 75%) who drive even though suspended. To deal with this problem. several states have enacted laws providing for vehicle impoundment, immobilization, or forfeiture for repeat DWI offenders and for driving while suspended (DWS) offenders. Although a 1992 review of vehicle sanctions for DWI and DWS offenders showed 32 states with such laws, they were infrequently applied. Further, none of those laws had been adequately evaluated. This paper reviews the studies of vehicle action programs in California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington that have been applied broadly enough to permit evaluation. Although none of the studies has applied random assignment to ensure equal groups. several have applied sufficient statistical controls to provide reasonably credible results. All the programs reviewed showed positive effects. including some relatively large recidivism reductions, from denying offenders the use of their vehicles for 1-6 months. Highlighted in this review are several issues that appear to be important to the effectiveness of vehicle sanctioning programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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