Sentencing high-range PCA drink-drivers in NSW
|David Saffron and Marilyn Chilvers
|Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 77
Alcohol; Driving offences; Recidivism / Re-offending
|prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA), drink drivers, repeat offenders
Download this publication
In this bulletin we examine the sentencing of high-range PCA drink drivers in the context of their PCA offending history.
The risk of being involved in a serious car accident increases significantly when the driver’s blood alcohol range substantially exceeds the basic legal limit. In particular, the crash risk of a driver whose blood alcohol concentration reaches the high range (0.15 grams per 100 millilitres) prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) is 25 times that associated with a non-drinker. Repeat drink drivers constitute a particular risk to road safety. In this bulletin we examine the sentencing of high-range PCA drink drivers in the context of their PCA offending history. The study shows that, for offenders convicted of high-range PCA offences over the five years to June 2001, almost one-quarter were repeat drink drivers. Of these repeat offenders, more than half had a prior PCA conviction in the high range. The sentencing of high-range drink drivers is examined in relation to the frequency and nature of prior drink-driving convictions, and to the presence of concurrent driving convictions. The probability of imprisonment for a male aged 25-49 with no prior or concurrent drink-driving conviction is less than one per cent. This probability of imprisonment rises to around 76 per cent when the offender has three or more prior drink-driving convictions, and a concurrent driving conviction.