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The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

On-line version ISSN 1989-4007Print version ISSN 1889-1861


MARTI-BELDA, Ana; PASTOR, Juan C.; MONTORO, Luis  and  BOSO, Patricia. Persistent traffic offenders: alcohol consumption and personality as predictors of driving disqualification. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context [online]. 2019, vol.11, n.2, pp.81-92.  Epub Oct 26, 2020. ISSN 1989-4007.

Traffic safety is an important social problem. Many accidents are due to non-compliance with traffic regulations. Serious or repeated offenses are sanctioned with penalty points or court conviction, and sanctions can lead to disqualification from driving. This paper explores the relevance of alcohol consumption and personality factors as predictors of driving disqualification. The aim of the study is to determine whether the behaviors of persistent offenders and their propensity for law-breaking are related to their characteristics and patterns of drinking. A sample of 358 drivers participated in the study: 126 non-offender habitual drivers and 232 persistent traffic offenders disqualified from driving for serious or repeated traffic offenses, 127 of them after conviction, 105 without conviction (by accumulation of penalties). Participants were given a battery of tests measuring a set of explanatory personality and alcohol consumption factors. We used a cross-sectional study design and performed statistical analysis of variance and regression searching for differences among the groups. The results reveal group effects, with significant differences in a number of factors between traffic offenders and non-offenders, and between both categories of offenders in a number of variables, including traffic violations that lead to demerit points and/or loss of a driver’s license and crash involvement. Certain variables, including problem drinking, high levels of activity or excitement, penchant for thrill or sensation seeking, and propensity to hostility while driving, can accurately predict group membership. Alcohol disorders are the best predictors of disqualification from driving for serious or repeat traffic offenses, both penalized and convicted.

Keywords : Traffic offenders; Alcohol consumption; Personality factors; Driving disqualification; Penalty points system; Traffic safety.

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