Revoke Drivers’ Licenses for Impaired Drivers

Description of Strategy

In recent decades, numerous states have implemented statutory provisions providing for the suspension and eventual revocation of drivers’ licenses of those caught driving while impaired (DWI), in an attempt to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. While a suspension is temporary, a revocation cancels the driver’s license. The driver may be required to go through an investigation to be re-licensed once the revocation is over.

Such laws have two primary goals: 1) deter the general population from DWI with the threat of a penalty—temporary or permanent loss of one’s drivers’ license; and 2) incapacitate drivers caught DWI from further DWI offenses by suspending their driver’s license (Wagenaar & Maldonado-Molina, 2007). This strategy relies on the driver’s compliance with driver’s license laws and does not immobilize the driver’s vehicle.

In Wyoming, a first or second DWI offense or conviction will result in the suspension of the driver’s license. A third and subsequent offense will result in revocation of the driver’s license (Wyoming Legislature § 31-5-233, 2017).

Discussion of Effectiveness

Alcohol

Evidence remains unclear on the effectiveness of revoking the licenses of impaired drivers. A 2000 study found that license revocation policies were effective in significantly reducing alcohol-related fatal crashes (Whetten-Goldstein, Sloan, Stout, & Liang, 2000). A 2011 study found that license suspension was only effective if the suspension happened immediately (as an administrative penalty or pre-conviction) (Wagenaar & Maldonado-Molina, 2007). However, a final study found that all offenders with a prior DWI remain at high risk of recidivating regardless of type of sanction, including license revocation (Ahlin et al., 2011).

Prescription & Other Drugs

Evidence remains unclear on the effectiveness of revoking the licenses of impaired drivers. A 2000 study found that license revocation policies were effective in significantly reducing alcohol-related fatal crashes (Whetten-Goldstein, Sloan, Stout, & Liang, 2000). A 2011 study found that license suspension was only effective if the suspension happened immediately (as an administrative penalty or pre-conviction) (Wagenaar & Maldonado-Molina, 2007). However, a final study found that all offenders with a prior DWI remain at high risk of recidivating regardless of type of sanction, including license revocation (Ahlin et al., 2011).

References

Strategy Description

Wagenaar, A. C., & Maldonado-Molina, M. M. (2007). Effects of drivers’ license suspension policies on alcohol-related crash involvement: Long-term follow-up in forty-six states. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(8), 1399–1406. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00441.x

Wyoming Legislature Statute Downloads (2017). Motor Vehicle. Retrieved November 1, 2017.

Evidence Base

Ahlin, E. M., Zador, P. L., Rauch, W. J., Howard, J. M., & Duncan, G. D. (2011). First-time DWI offenders are at risk of recidivating regardless of sanctions imposed. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(2), 137–142. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2011.01.001

Wagenaar, A. C., & Maldonado-Molina, M. M. (2007). Effects of drivers’ license suspension policies on alcohol-related crash involvement: Long-term follow-up in forty-six states. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(8), 1399–1406. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00441.x

Whetten-Goldstein, K., Sloan, F. A., Stout, E., & Liang, L. (2000). Civil liability, criminal law, and other policies and alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities in the United States: 1984–1995. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 32(6), 723–733. doi:10.1016/S0001-4575(99)00122-0

Futher Reading

Wells-Parker, E., Bangert-Drowns, R., Mcmillen, R., & Williams, M. (1995). Final results from a meta-analysis of remedial interventions with drink/drive offenders. Addiction, 90(7), 907–926. doi:10.1046/j.1360-0443.1995.9079074.x