Drunk Driving: Is Incarceration or Rehabilitation the Better Deterrent?

Opinion still divided on the best method to curb Drunk Driving.

Individual states have expanded the definition of hard-core drunk drivers to include not only repeat offenders, but first-time offenders with high BAC.The courts are now being flooded, which makes law enforcement more difficult. Jail time and vehicle incapacitation laws only keep drunk-drivers off the road temporarily.

Treatment for alcoholism may be a better alternative for a longer term solution. While being treated,their vehicles can be impounded or anti-mobilization devices installed.These solutions may have a better effect than license suspension which is largely ignored.

There has been trend toward lower Blood Alcohol Concentration limits, which has been the cause of some controversy between the hospitality industry and safety advocates.

The hospitality industry advocated strengthening sanctions for DUI as opposed to lowering limits to 0.08.

The government and safety and health organizations in North America are addressing the repeat DUI offender issues. Reports indicate that there is an incorrigible group of drivers who repeatedly drink and drive, despite previous convictions.

Classifying hard-core Drunk Driving

Some states retains the record of a DUI offense for 10 years, and over 1.4 million cases are recorded annually,

As significant question arises as to whether a single arrest for DUI is a valid indicator that the individual is a hard core offender.

The inclusion of first offenders appears to have been supported by research that indicates fatally injured drunk drivers, typically have high BAC. High BAC’s are associated with the relatively high risk of crashes.

It is interesting to note that 65{c66b10e9cbb0dd4ae322bbe8793aef26e887819d9224ac46799d38bddff29d80} of fatally injured drivers have BAC’s at or above 0.15 at the time of the incidents, while the probability of arrest for DWI is only 1.2{c66b10e9cbb0dd4ae322bbe8793aef26e887819d9224ac46799d38bddff29d80} The implication is that first time offenders may in fact be multiple time offenders, who are caught for the first time.

Are Harsher Penalties Effective for Deterring Drunk Driving?

Implementing more severe penalties can raise some more issues:

Motorists are allowed to refuse breathalyzer tests, but there may be consequences for so doing.

1) Will refusal of breath tests increase, with higher imposed penalties?

It should first be decided what sanctions will be effective and reducing the recidivism rate for offenders and will these more severe penalties be acceptable to legislators and judges.

2) Will the courts be successful in imposing higher sanctions?

Protecting the public from drunk driving

Deterrence and incapacitation can protect the public, but are unlikely to promote recovery from alcohol abuse as a larger portion of offenders appear to be alcohol-dependents. Participation in an education and or treatment program may be necessary for long term problems that lies beneath impaired driving problem.

Several studies have found evidence to support the effectiveness of court mandated treatment programs, however recovery takes time, in some cases an average of 32 weeks are required for completion.There was no clear relationship between the length of the treatment and the recidivism rate, and the optimum length of time for treatment and associated costs remains a subject of further research.

Unfortunately, sanctions such as fines or jail which are designed to punish and deter drunk driving have not been very effective.

Electronically monitored house arrest for drunk driving is also being used with DWI offenders, as it keeps them off the roads at a much lower cost than jail as the offender is often required to pay for the electronic monitoring.

Next Post

Can Cloud Computing Take On The Healthcare Industry?

How Cloud Computing Will Help Healthcare Industry Implementing and utilizing technology will offer healthcare practices significant benefits, with Cloud computing offering better access to healthcare services and information that would subsequently result in improved outcomes and increased cost savings. Other advantage is that healthcare data has specific requirements such as […]