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Juvenile DWI Offenders in Austria

M. Ruby

Verkehrspsychologische Untersuchungsstelle, am Institut für Gerichtliche Medizin, Ignaz-Harrer-Straße 79, A-5020, Salzburg, Austria


The Austrian traffic code introduced the driver's licence on probation on January 1, 1992. The legal BAC limit for probationary licence holders is .01%. Probationary licence holders committing a DWI offence will be subjects of a rehabilitation programme.


The study shows data from 100 young DWI offenders: DWI offences by day of week, by time of day, by BAC, by mode of detection, by place of drinking, by reason for drinking and DWI offences by self-reported degree of alcohol impairment (average BAC: .13%)

None of the young DWI offenders who had a BAC of .10% and less felt unable to drive, only 1/6 of those who had a BAC of more than .10% felt unable to drive, only those who felt very impaired were not surprised by the result of the blood test. The same sample has been asked to estimate the BAC value for a man with a body of 75 kg who drank two large bottles of beer each containing .5 litres. The answers ranked between .01% and .14%. The higher the BAC of the estimating subject is the lower will he estimate the BAC figure in the example and vice versa.

Young DWI offenders overestimate their driving ability and deliberately accept the risk of impaired driving.

The average age of the 100 DWI offenders was 21,1 a. DWI offences by day of week and time of day show that most offences occurred on weekend and late in the night (0-4 a.m.)

Reason for drinking is fun and party.

The places of drinking are mostly in pubs and discos.

1414 young people (16-25 a) were asked for the reason to drink alcohol in disco.

Of them answered:

42% it's customary
40,5% alcohol makes relaxed
18,2% alcohol is the less expensive beverage
7,3% almost all drink alcohol

From the 100 DWI offenders were 1,3% feminine. The average BAC was .13%. The BAC increases after midnight.

The most of detection of the DWI offences was in 60% accident, 35% police check and driving error 17%, (the rest unknown, other).


The result shows the importance of the driving licence of probation and the necessity of early psychological care of novice drivers by re-education and rehabilitation courses to stop a drinking and driving career.