In most countries, a licence suspension means a temporary withdrawal of the privilege to drive a motorised vehicle. Most often after a fixed period of time and after fulfilling certain conditions (e.g. paying a fee, and/or participating in a rehabilitation programme), the driving privileges will be restored. There are two basic ways in which licence suspension may improve road safety. First, the threat of licence suspension may motivate drivers to improve their traffic behaviour and to abstain from risky driving. Second, licence suspension temporarily removes risky drivers from traffic. Studies indicate that licence suspension (and also licence revocation) is effective in reducing crashes and violations of repeat offenders. A 2004 meta-analysis estimated that licence suspension or revocation measures reduce crashes and violations of suspended offenders by 17% and21% respectively. A 2009 meta-analysis indicated that administrative licence suspension laws reduce all fatal accidents by 4%. It should be added that for specific groups of offenders, such as drink-drivers, other sanction measures, in particular the alcohol-interlock measure, is likely to produce larger road safety benefits than licence suspension. Also, the combination of licence suspension and other measures, such as rehabilitation programmes or vehicle impoundment, is likely to perform better than licence suspension as a single measure.
European Road Safety Decision Support System, developed by the H2020 project SafetyCube
European Commission, Brussels
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