Driving Under the Influence

Driving Under the Influence




Driving Under the Influence


In traffic safety, drunk driving has been considered the major causative factor in fatal automobile accidents. In this regard, a lot of progress has been achieved in controlling incidence of drunk driving and reducing such accidents (Raes,  Neste, & Verstraete, 2008).  In an effort to ensure that the roadways are safe from drunk drivers, and prevention of future fatalities there is need for awareness to be created in terms of clearly elaborating on the characteristics and magnitude of drunk driving within the United States (Schmidt, 2013). Through the creation of this knowledge and the understanding the need for strategies that assure safety on the roads, combating and ultimate eradication of this vice will be achievable in the near future.

There has been a significant decline on the same as elaborated by NHTSA report in 2010, which indicated that the rates of accidents which had peaked in 1982 at 21,000 reported have reduced to 10,839 as per 2009 (Rauch, 2009). The numbers depicted are still quite high and unacceptable. It has been observed that despite the progressive measures implemented in curbing drunken driving fatalities, most of road deaths caused by this offense are attributed to drunk drivers with an estimated alcohol concentration of 0.08 levels and higher (Schmidt, 2013). From this angle, there is clearly need for extremes measures and strategies to be developed and enacted within the traffic and road systems in ensuring that such incidences are reduced. The intended results which primarily involve reducing the number of incidences related to drunk driving should be achieved through placing consideration such as data communication linkages in various agencies, adequate staffing, provision of adequate resources as well as training and educating professionals (Raes,  Neste, & Verstraete, 2008). Through catering to the above mentioned aspects, the measures can be implemented successfully despite the obvious barriers in order to produce the expected outcomes.

First Time and Repeat Offenders

Research has indicated that most drunk drivers arrested are usually first time offenders. This is validated with the recorded 70% of the reported convicted offenders having no prior drunk driving conviction (Rauch, 2009).  With regards to estimating the risk levels posed by first time offenders, the variables are varied in that other are frequent alcohol consumers who drive under the influence with alcoholic levels at 0.08 and above whereas other are truly first time offender who drunk drive in very rare occasions (Schmidt, 2013). According to research, the alcohol levels observed in first drunk driving offenders are usually very high with most approximating to 0.12 which increasing the risk of causing accidents through crashes. In repeat offenders, research indicates that many are usually alcohol dependants (Rauch, 2009). This is elaborated in statistics which indicate that 82% of this group is problem drinkers whereas the remainder comprises of individuals who only engage in social drinking. Basing on these findings, it is essentially imperative to ensure that assessment and screening is conducted in order to assist in determining the individuals who are able to benefit from enhanced treatment protocols as well as enhanced supervision (Schmidt, 2013). Additionally, this process is crucial in identifying better suited individuals for the interventions at both high and low levels depending on the alcohol dependency rates.

Several factors are considered in evaluating first time offenders which is important in developing effective strategies that can assist in reducing automobile fatalities (Schmidt, 2013). Firstly, it is observed that there is a higher likelihood of first time offenders repeating the offence. This is particular y seen in individuals who are frequent drivers thus having high BACs. In addition to this, they also tend to have proper convictions of impaired driving or other related crimes due to their alcohol dependency problem. In a research conducted by NHTSA, it was observed that arrested drunk driver with 0.08 BAC levels were eight fold more likely to have prior criminal records involving impaired driving when compared to drivers who were alcohol free (Raes,  Neste, & Verstraete, 2008). I t is imperative to comprehend that such drivers often contributes to some of the serious crashes reported in police departments as they pose a dangerous risk to themselves and those within the automobile and on the road as well. This is justified by research which elaborated that such drivers have a probability of 2000 times capable of causing a fatal crash in comparison to their sober counterparts hence depicting the extremities of drunken driving.

Challenges within the Impaired Driving System

In the current system, several strategies have been implemented in addressing issues related with impaired driving and related offense (Schmidt, 2013). However, tough challenges have also been experienced. Some of the challenges include

  • Professionals in charge of utilization and implementation of proven strategies at times lack essential education and training necessary for ensuring these processes are successful.
  • Inadequacy in communication across agency networks has allowed for loopholes that had led to ineffective supervision of drunk drivers and offenders.
  • Inconsistent application of proven technologies such as alcohol interlocks and supervision methods has deterred proper handling of offenders
  • Technical issues leading to poor connection and lack of automation for data systems has disrupted proper tracking for offenders as well as information necessary for effective monitoring and treatment provision (Rauch, 2009).
  • Implementation of strategies has been hindered by legislation issues such as inadequate input from frontline practitioners leading to complicated problems during the legislation problems.

Effective Interventions

Currently, proven methods have been established and implemented in handling cases relating to drunk driving. These methods address repeat offenses and high BAC arrestees (Willis, Lybrand & Bellamy, 2005). It is imperative to comprehend on the effectuality of these interventions in order to observe the efforts made by the Criminal Justice department in curbing impaired driving. Institutions that have worked collaboratively with the government in the developing of these strategies include the Working group program which focuses on DWI system improvements (Raes,  Neste, & Verstraete, 2008). The first technology to be evaluated is the alcohol monitoring technologies which are inclusive of alcohol ignition interlock and CAM (continuous alcohol monitoring).  These technologies have been developed to track the alcohol consumption levels of the offenders. The primary function is utilization in supervising apprehended drivers on bond, convicted or pretrial release drunk drivers (Willis, Lybrand & Bellamy, 2005) It is imperative to understand the mechanism of operation of these technologies as well as their effectuality to determine their appropriateness in addressing issues related to drunk driving .

The alcohol ignition has proven to be quite effective in apprehending drunk drivers. According to statistics, an estimated 75% of the drivers have had their licenses revoked or suspended (Rauch, 2009). In situations where they need to operate on motor vehicles, the alcohol interlocks assures their soberness prior to undertaking any driving activity. They have also assisted in reducing repeated offenses which has been estimated at 35-90%. In some studies, these devices have reduced the rates of repeated offences by 64% following their installation in automobiles belonging to drunk driving offenders (Willis, Lybrand & Bellamy, 2005). The operational mechanism employed within this device is breath testing which is integrated within the computer system within the automobile or the starter. In detecting that the driver who is usually a convicted drunk driver has BAC level of 0.02, they are prompted to repeat breath tests within the vehicle in order to ensure they are sober before driving. Based on this function, it is evident that the device is exceptional in providing protection to the public and also to the offenders through ensuring they maintain their employment, attend treatment programs and engage in family life activities.

The continuous alcohol monitoring device is developed to monitor the levels of alcohol consumed by offenders that have been previously arrested drunk driving (Rauch, 2009). It places no restrictions for drunk driver, however, being an ankle bracelet ensures that it is able to monitor the alcohol levels through measuring these levels from sweat. The readings are then transferred to a secure website to undergo further reviewing. In case of tampering or high alcohol levels, the individual is arrested. The effectual element that makes this device appropriate for monitoring is that the mechanism used to measure alcohol levels which is inclusive of trans-dermal alcohol testing and perspiration testing (Raes,  Neste, & Verstraete, 2008). Research indicates that these methods are valid determining alcohol consumption by the monitored offenders. These devices are quite promising and elaborate on the hard work and efforts invested by the government in ensuring safety for the American community.



Raes, E., Neste, T., & Verstraete, A. (2008). Drug use, impaired driving and traffic accidents (1st ed.). Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Rauch, W. (2005). Does Alcohol-Impaired Driving Recidivism Among First Offenders More Closely Resemble that of Multiple Offenders? Presented at the 6th International Alcohol Interlock Symposium, Annecy, France, September 25-27. Traffic Injury Research Foundation

Schmidt, I. (2013). Perpetual trauma and its organizations: Mothers Against Drunk Driving and drunk driving revisited. Memory Studies, 7(2), 239-253. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750698012470836

Willis, C., Lybrand, S., & Bellamy, N. (2005). Alcohol ignition interlock programmes for reducing drink driving recidivism (review). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 18(4), 6-10.

Wells-Parker, E., & Williams, M. (2002). Enhancing the effectiveness of traditional interventions with drinking drivers by adding brief intervention components. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 63(6), 655-664.





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