HDR Confirmation Seminar: Laura Mills - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

HDR Confirmation Seminar: Laura Mills

We would like to invite you to attend the HDR Confirmation Seminar of Laura Mills, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of Law and Society. If you are external to USC and wish to participate via Zoom, please contact ASURE@usc.edu.au.

Thesis Title:

Operationalising deterrence in the age of social media.


Enhancements to technology have transformed several aspects of road safety, communication, and connectivity. At the intersection of these, practitioners and scholars have begun to speculate whether technology continues to benefit the landscape of road safety or whether some aspects of technology have enabled the unsafe to become undetected. A potential new challenge for road safety is the emergence and growth of Facebook-based police location pages and groups. These sites provide users with a platform to share the locations of police traffic operations, including Random Breath Testing and Roadside Drug Testing (RDT). Of growing concern to road safety in Australia is the issue of drug driving. The proportion of fatal and non-fatal traffic injuries involving drugs has been increasing in several Australian states, despite police efforts to detect drug drivers through RDT. With the locations of RDT now being posted on Facebook in several Australian communities, and some of these sites attracting thousands of users, it is crucial to understand the way these sites influence offending behaviour. This program of research thus has two main objectives: (1) Understand the content of Facebook police location groups and pages, and the way these sites are used and (2) Examine how Facebook police location communities impact deterrence for drug driving. Three studies are proposed in order to fulfil these objectives, with the first study containing two parts; (1) a survey distributed to a sample of Queensland drug takers to assess their use of police location communities on Facebook and (2) a content analysis of Queensland-based police location communities on Facebook. In the second study, interviews with Queensland-based Facebook police location community users will be conducted, and in the third and final study, a survey will be distributed to a sample of Queensland drug takers to validate the findings of the previous studies and identify predictors of using Facebook PLC to avoid RDT. It is expected that this research will have important theoretical implications, by extending deterrence-based theories to apply to police avoidance technology. The results from this research are expected to also have practical implications for the regulation of online police location information in relation to drug driving enforcement, as well as helping to further inform how drug driving enforcement activities can have a more salient impact on preventing the behaviour while considering the impact of police avoidance technology.