Objective: This study investigates the utility of deterrence and social-control theories for prospective prediction of driving-while-impaired (DWI) outcomes of first-time DWI offenders. Method: The sample consisted of a subset of 544 convicted first-time DWI offenders (N = 337 females) who were interviewed 5 and 15 years after referral to a Screening Program in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Variables collected at the 5-year (initial) interview were used in structural equation models to predict past 3-months, self-reported DWI at the 15-year follow-up (follow-up) interview. These variables represented domains defined by deterrence and social-control theories of DWI behavior, with one model corresponding to deterrence theory and one to social-control theory. Results: Both models fit the data. DWI jail time was positively related to perceived enforcement, which was negatively but not significantly related to self-reported DWI. Neither jail time for DWI nor perceived likelihood of arrest was linearly related to self-reported DWI at follow-up. Interactions between jail time and prior DWI behavior indicated relatively weaker associations between initial and 15-year DWI for those reporting more jail time. Conclusion: Our prospective study demonstrated that for this convicted DWI offender cohort, classic formulations of deterrence and social-control theories did not account for DWI. However, results suggest that punishment may decrease the likelihood of DWI recidivism.
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Driving while intoxicated
- Impaired driving
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health