Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development

Operational Review and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework design for NSW drink and drug driving reforms

Centre for Road Safety, Transport for NSW, 2020


The NSW Government has for many years pursued policies and programs aimed at reducing drink driving and has revised these as evidence of effective interventions emerge. In February 2018, the NSW Government released the Road Safety Plan 2021 which aims to support delivery of the State Priority target of a 30 per cent reduction in road fatalities by 2021, and work towards the longer-term vision set by the Future Transport Strategy 2056 of zero trauma by 2056. The Plan contains commitments to drink and drug driving reforms under the priority area of ‘Using the roads safely’. The long-term goals of the reforms are to:

  • reduce alcohol and drug related crashes, fatalities and serious injuries in NSW
  • increase compliance with drink and drug driving legislation
  • reduce drink and drug driving reoffending.

On behalf of the Centre for Road Safety in Transport for NSW, ARTD undertook an operational review of a set of drink and drug driving reforms. These reforms changed the penalties for first-time drink and drug driving for both lower- and mid-range offences in NSW as well as introducing roadside vehicle sanctions for high risk drink driving offences. ARTD was also commissioned to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the reforms.


The operational review aimed to provide insight into the early implementation of the reforms, identify potential improvements in delivery and identify any unintended consequences, to provide early notice of any required policy or program adjustments. Members of an interagency steering committee provided valuable advice that helped target the review activities.

An operational review plan and tools for methods were developed, baseline monitoring data was captured by the Centre, and 29 interviews were conducted with stakeholders involved in policy design and reform implementation. Interviewees also included several people from the legal services sector because of a desire to understand the impact on the reforms on disadvantaged groups. Interviews were then coded and analysed thematically using Nvivo. The review provided insights into improvements that could be made to implementation of the reforms and focussed the design of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.

Concurrent to the operational review, ARTD worked with the Centre for Road Safety team to develop a methodology for monitoring and a comprehensive process and outcomes evaluation of the reforms, to be carried out between 2021 and 2025.


The Centre for Road Safety is considering the recommendations and progressing the implementation of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.

Recommendations provided in the review included making reforms more accessible by providing plain English materials and focussing on community-led and community-delivered public awareness raising about the reforms, as well as investigating their impacts on vulnerable offenders.

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