Alcohol, illegal drugs and driving in Belgium: Using a decision tree as a tool for an efficient police enforcement strategy

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Ward Vanlaar

In this article the author wants to indicate how police officers should divide their time between two legal instruments: on the one hand, the law that prohibits drink driving (law of 18 July 1990) and on the other hand, the new law prohibiting driving under the influence of certain well-defined illegal drugs (law of 16 March 1999). The authors base this time allocation on the assumption that police forces have limited resources. If drink driving exerts a different influence on road safety than driving under the influence of illegal drugs, then a well-founded complementary system must be developed for implementing the two laws. For this reason, the authors have created a theoretical framework as the core of a decision tree. The framework is based on a literature survey of three major concepts regarding drink driving and driving under the influence of illegal drugs (extent of the two phenomena, accident risk and accident consequences) and a thorough evaluation of the two laws in question. The decision tree is a tool that helps to translate theoretical implications into a real-world, efficient police enforcement strategy. In short, their decision tree favors a differential approach to drink driving and driving under the influence of illegal drugs, as the literature survey reveals that there are significant differences between the problem of drink driving and the problem of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

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