Technical Report Documentation Page

Cover Page

Technical Report

Technical Summary


List of Tables


Study Sites

Observational Study

Focus Group Research




1.  Report No. 

2.  Government Accession No.

3.  Recipient's Catalog No.

4.  Title and Subtitle

Observational Study of the Extent of Driving While Suspended for Alcohol-Impaired Driving

5.  Report Date

September 2002



6.  Performing Organization Code


7.  Author(s)

Anne T. McCartt, Lori L. Geary, William J. Nissen

8.  Performing Organization Report No.

9.  Performing Organization Name and Address

Preusser Research Group, Inc.

7100 Main Street

Trumbull, CT  06611

10.  Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11.  Contract or Grant No.


12.  Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

400 Seventh Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C.  20590

13.  Type of Report and Period Covered



14.  Sponsoring Agency Code

15.  Supplementary Notes

Amy Berning served as the NHTSA Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for this study. 

16.    Abstract

A study was undertaken to determine the proportion of first-time alcohol-impaired driving offenders who drive while suspended and the circumstances and motivations for driving.  Systematic, unobtrusive observations were conducted by surveillance professionals from Pinkerton Investigative Services, Inc., of first-time offenders in Milwaukee (WI) and Bergen County (NJ).  Observations included two 4-hour periods during suspension (one weekday morning, one Friday/Saturday evening) and two 4-hour periods after license reinstatement (matched by day of week and time of day).  In all, 1,000 hours of observational data were gathered for 93 subjects (57 in Milwaukee and 36 in Bergen County).  Milwaukee subjects had more problematic driving histories and were significantly more likely to drive while suspended.  Of subjects observed traveling in some way while suspended, 88% of Milwaukee subjects drove, compared to 36% of Bergen County subjects.  Only 5% of Milwaukee subjects had their license reinstated, compared to 78% of Bergen County subjects.  Bergen County subjects were significantly more likely to drive after reinstatement than during their suspension, suggesting that the suspension had an impact on the subjects' driving patterns.  Focus groups, conducted at both sites, indicated that the license suspension represented a much greater hardship for New Jersey offenders than for Milwaukee offenders.  New Jersey laws are much stronger, and Bergen County offenders had a much higher perceived risk of apprehension and punishment for driving while suspended. 


17.  Key Words                                                                                                    

alcohol-impaired driving                         DUI

driving while suspended                          DWI

driving while revoked

18.    Distribution Statement

This report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000.  It is also available, free of charge, on the NHTSA web site at

19.  Security Classif.(of this report)


20.  Security Classif.(of this page)


21.  No. of Pages


22.  Price


 Form DOT F 1700.7  (8-72)                              Reproduction of completed page authorized