Date of Conferral
Drinking and driving has been the focus of research since the 1960s, but researchers have not defined the meaning of punishment for offenders who continue to drink and drive. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of punishment on driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) defendants to assess the likelihood of preventing subsequent offenses. This study also sought to describe the behaviors of defendants who are perpetrating multiple offenses. The protection motivation theory was the theoretical foundation of this qualitative case study. The sample included a diverse group of 16 men between the ages of 21 and 35 who were recruited via a flyer in traffic court. Participants were interviewed, and interview data were transcribed verbatim and then coded for themes relating to punishments and DWI/DUIs. Initial interpretations were subjected to member checking for greater trustworthiness of the final report. The results of this study showed that the participants accepted responsibility for the frequent behaviors of drinking and driving and for being too intoxicated to make the decision to drive prior to their arrest. The results of the analyses indicated that the participants responded well to the punishment and opted to change their behaviors. Allowing offenders to describe and own their behaviors could positively create social change in these individuals, thus preventing them from incurring future DWI and DUI arrest.