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Criminal Histories of Serious Traffic Offenders

NCJ Number
Gerry Rose
Date Published
108 pages
This document examines the extent to which anti-social behavior on the road is linked to other criminal activity.
Using the Home Office’s Offenders Index and a national survey of Young People and Crime, three types of serious traffic offenders were examined: the drunk driver, the disqualified driver, and the dangerous driver. Results revealed that many offenders from each group had committed mainstream offenses such as violence against the person, burglary, robbery, theft and handling, criminal damage, and drug offenses. There were significance differences between the groups in terms of their sociodemographic profile and frequency of offending. For example, the prevalence of traffic offending was higher for young white people than for those from other ethnic groups. Young males from higher socioeconomic (SES) groups were significantly more likely to commit drunk driving offenses, whereas young males from lower SES groups were marginally more likely to commit license and insurance offenses. Dangerous drivers showed less involvement with crime than disqualified drivers but more than drunk drivers. Disqualified drivers had criminal histories and an age-profile similar to that of mainstream offenders. Drunk drivers were often older and were less involved in other offending, although they were still twice as likely as the general population to have a criminal conviction. Serious traffic offending was predominantly a male activity and relatively few females were involved. These findings highlight the significant role that road policing can have in both the enforcement of traffic offenses and in combating mainstream crime. 19 figures, 15 tables and 27 references.