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February 1991                                                     

                         RESEARCH FORUM

     Editor's note:  As used here, administrative driver license 
     suspension programs are those wherein an offender's license
     is suspended on the basis of an administrative finding that
     the person drove a motor vehicle while having an alcohol
     concentration at or above the lawful limit.  

     A recent survey of State police, licensing officials, court
administrators, and local police chiefs in 22 States with driver
license suspension programs in place reveals widespread support
for this procedure.  The survey was intended to update and
expand the results of a 1986 survey conducted by the
State and local police managers.

     A total of 132 questionnaires were distributed.  In
addition to one being sent to each State police superintendent,
of the survey), three local police chiefs in each of the
States having a program in place for at least 12 months were

     The survey form consisted of only four questions and was
questions elicited detailed responses and were intended to gauge
the level of support for suspension programs by each agency.


     Fifteen responses were received from State Police, 19 from
and 44 from local police chiefs, for a return rate of 64
courts) gave strong approval to the suspension concept.  In
fact, from the 88 questionnaires returned, only two negative
concern about the cost to police departments for providing
testimony at an administrative hearing and then again at trial
n criminal court.

     Since prompt licensing sanctions are generally believed to
encourage guilty pleas, and therefore, reduce court backlogs,
Seven of the 10 court administrators who responded noted that
the procedures provide a quick and certain response to a serious
traffic offense, remove a major burden from the courts, and

     All responses from State licensing officials and State
States.  Except for the two negative comments noted above, the


     Information for this column was submitted by James
Latchaw (retired), formerly of the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration.