Drunk driving and deterrence: exploring the reconceptualized deterrence hypothesis and self-reported drunk driving
Sociology and Criminal Justice
This article partially examines Stafford and Warr’s reconceptualized model of deterrence by investigating the relationship between punishment, punishment avoidance, perceived certainty and severity of punishment, and self-reported driving under the influence (DUI). Generalized Structural Equation Modeling (GSEM) was conducted using self-report data from a nationally representative telephone survey of the general population. As hypothesized, experiences with punishment were positively related to perceptions of certainty of punishment, and increased punishment avoidance is related to decreased perceptions of punishment certainty and self-reported DUI. Although perceived certainty of punishment is negatively related to DUI, perceptions of punishment severity were positively related to self-reported DUI. Results also indicate that personal and vicarious experiences are significantly related to perceptions of certainty and severity of punishment and self-reported DUI. With the exception of perceptions of punishment severity, the findings are largely supportive of the theory. While the literature rarely examines perceptions of severity of punishment, some suggestions for future research are posited. The findings also suggest that deterrence may operate differently for those with alcohol addiction problems. These results considerably add to the scarce research that explores predictors of perceptions of punishment certainty and severity and the indirect path between these predictors and self-reported DUI.
Journal of Crime and Justice
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