Short-Term Licence Suspensions for Drinking Drivers: An Assessment of Effectiveness in Saskatchewan

Short-term (i.e., 12-hour to 24-hour) administrative licence suspensions have been used in Canada for over 20 years as a means to remove from the road those drivers with relatively low blood-alcohol concentrations (BACs) and to provide them with ample time to have their BAC return to zero before their driving privileges are reinstated. The procedure is quick and efficient and is carried out at the side of the road. It provides the police with an efficient tool for dealing decisively with drivers who have consumed relatively small amounts of alcohol but who are not sufficiently impaired to warrant criminal charges. At the same time, the procedure provides swift and certain punishment―two elements required for effective deterrence. Because the procedure is administrative, it avoids the complications, procedural details, and delays imposed by the criminal process and applies an immediate sanction that is considered appropriate for the level of impairment and risk associated with low BACs. Despite the long history and large number of offenders who have been issued short-term suspensions, there has never been a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the effect of these laws. The purpose of the present study was to conduct an evaluation of the short-term suspension law in the province of Saskatchewan. This law came into effect on August 1, 1996. It provides the police with the authority to suspend immediately, for a period of 24 hours, the licence of any driver who has a BAC in excess of 0.04%. This report presents the results from four studies: (1) the general deterrent impact, (2) the specific deterrent impact, (3) the characteristics of drivers issued short-term suspensions, and (4) a survey of police officers.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 138p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01051925
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 11 2007 11:12AM