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Keywords:

  • Alcohol-related crashes;
  • drugged drivers;
  • DUI;
  • jail;
  • monitoring drinking;
  • recidivism

ABSTRACT

Aims  To describe a proposed national model for controlling the risk presented by offenders convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) and promoting behavioral change to reduce future recidivism.

Setting  Traditional methods of controlling the risk they present to the driving public are not adequate, as indicated by the fact that approximately 1000 people are killed each year-in alcohol-related crashes involving drivers convicted of DWI in the previous three years. However, stimulated by the success of special drug courts for substance abusers and new technological methods for monitoring drug and alcohol use, new criminal justice programs for managing impaired driving offenders are emerging.

Intervention  A national model for a comprehensive system applicable to both drug and alcohol impaired drivers is proposed. The program focuses on monitoring offender drinking or the offender driving employing vehicle interlocks with swift, sure but moderate penalties for non-compliance in which the ultimate sanction is based on offender performance in meeting monitoring requirements.

Findings  Several new court programs, such as the 24/7 Sobriety Project in South Dakota and North Dakota and the Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Project, which feature alcohol/drug consumption monitoring, have produced evidence that indicates even dependent drinkers can conform to abstinence monitoring requirements and avoid the short-term jail consequence for failure.

Conclusions  Based on the apparent success of emerging court monitoring systems, it appears that the cost of incarcerating driving-while-impaired offenders can be minimized by employing low-cost community correction programs paid for by the offender.