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Administrative license suspension/revocation laws

Health Factors: Alcohol & Drug Use
Decision Makers: State Government
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 100% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Administrative license suspension or revocation laws for alcohol-impaired driving enable law enforcement officials to take an individual’s drivers license when that individual refuses or fails a chemical test such as a breathalyzer. Such suspensions or revocations last for a period of time specified by state law (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced alcohol-related crashes
Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries
Reduced impaired driving

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that administrative license suspension and revocation laws reduce alcohol-related crashes (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013) and fatal injuries (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013, Fell 2009, Wagenaar 1995). Administrative license suspension laws can also reduce alcohol-related fatal crashes among drivers under age 21 (Fell 2009).

Administrative license suspension laws more effectively reduce alcohol-related crashes than laws that allow suspension or revocation only after conviction (Wagenaar 2007). Some drivers delay or fail to reinstate their license after suspension; those who delay reinstatement are more likely to continue to drive while intoxicated than drivers who have had their license restored (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013). Combining license suspension with education, counseling, ignition interlocks, or treatment programs may reduce drunk driving recidivism more than license suspension laws alone (DeYoung 1997, IAS-Anderson 2006, NHTSA-Goodwin 2013).

Administrative laws for alcohol-impaired driving have not been shown to reduce employment opportunities or income for individuals whose licenses have been suspended (Knoebel 1997). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends administrative license suspension of at least 90 days (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013).

Implementation

United States

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a specified level, currently 0.08 percent, is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Administrative license suspension is allowed in 41 states (IIHS-DUI DWI laws).

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin there is a 6 month administrative license suspension for first time offenders; however, it is possible to restore driving privileges during that time with the demonstration of special hardship (IIHS-DUI DWI laws).

Citations - Description

NHTSA-Goodwin 2013 - Goodwin A, Sandt B, Hall W, Thomas L, O’Brien N, Summerlin D. Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for state highway safety offices, 7th edition. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US Department of Transportation (US DOT); 2013. Accessed on March 1, 2017

Citations - Evidence

DeYoung 1997* - DeYoung DJ. An evaluation of the effectiveness of alcohol treatment, driver license actions and jail terms in reducing drunk driving recidivism in California. Addiction. 1997;92(8):989-97. Accessed on December 8, 2015
Fell 2009* - Fell JC, Fisher DA, Voas RB, Blackman K, Tippetts AS. The impact of underage drinking laws on alcohol-related fatal crashes of young drivers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2009;33(7):1208-19. Accessed on February 4, 2016
IAS-Anderson 2006 - Anderson P, Baumberg B. Alcohol in Europe: A public health perspective. London, UK: Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS); 2006. Accessed on February 17, 2016
Knoebel 1997* - Knoebel KY, Ross HL. Effects of administrative license revocation on employment. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 1997;29(5):595-611. Accessed on March 10, 2016
NHTSA-Goodwin 2013 - Goodwin A, Sandt B, Hall W, Thomas L, O’Brien N, Summerlin D. Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for state highway safety offices, 7th edition. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US Department of Transportation (US DOT); 2013. Accessed on March 1, 2017
Wagenaar 1995* - Wagenaar AC, Zobeck TS, Williams GD, Hingson R. Methods used in studies of drink-drive control efforts: A meta-analysis of the literature from 1960 to 1991. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 1995;27(3):307-316. Accessed on March 4, 2016
Wagenaar 2007* - Wagenaar AC, Maldonado-Molina MM. Effects of drivers’ license suspension policies on alcohol-related crash involvement: long-term follow-up in forty-six states. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2007;31(8):1399-406 Accessed on November 20, 2015

Citations - Implementation

IIHS-DUI DWI laws - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute. Alcohol-impaired driving: DUI/DWI laws. Accessed on February 29, 2016

Page Last Updated

July 29, 2015

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