share on:

In May the National Transportation Safety Board released 19 recommendations to eliminate impaired driving. This post is the fourth in a series examining the NTSB’s five safety issue areas.

The NTSB recommends using DWI Courts and other programs to reduce recidivism by repeat DWI offenders. Since traditional countermeasures have limited effects on individuals who repeatedly drive impaired, DWI Courts and 24/7 Sobriety Programs have been developed to specifically address the repeat DWI offender.

DWI Courts mandate sobriety and hold offenders accountable through intensive monitoring while providing treatment for underlying addiction or mental health issues. Judges, prosecutors, treatment professionals, and others work together to customize a program for each offender that may include intensive treatment, alcohol/drug testing, and graduated sanctions. The program takes at least 12 months to complete and treatment plans are revised as needed. There are approximately 200 designated DWI Courts and an additional 400 hybrid DWI/Drug Courts across the country.

24/7 Sobriety Programs also mandate sobriety as a condition of participation. Programs employ two primary technologies—twice daily breathalyzer tests or 24/7 transdermal alcohol monitoring bracelets—to monitor a participant’s alcohol consumption. Participants know there is swift and certain sanctions for drinking, often a brief stay in jail. There are three state-wide 24/7 Sobriety Programs as well as several county-level programs throughout the country.

DWI Courts and 24/7 Sobriety Programs require an intense level of involvement from offenders and from supervising agencies and staff. And that involvement pays off for participants as well as their communities. Both programs have been associated with reductions in DWI recidivism.

Despite the evidence that these programs reduce crashes, some notable highway safety organizations believe we should not spend scarce resources on repeat DWI offenders. Others believe that a concerted focus on this population will finally move the needle in the direction we have been seeking. With whom do you agree and why?

In the final installation of this series, I’ll look at the NTSB’s recommendation to establish goals for reducing impaired driving and measuring progress toward those goals.

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.


  1. Does anyone really believe that blowing into a breathalyzer twice a day for 6 months is going to stop an alcoholic/drunk driver from consuming alcohol for the long term, i.e. 2, 3, 4 years later?

  2. Repeat offenders are likely alcoholics.

    To prevent DUI’s altogether: Drinking needs to stop as soon as it starts which these days is at 13-14 years old. If you want an alcoholic in the family ignore kids drinking, make excuses for kids drinking as kids being kids or be their drinking buddy.

    Treating repeat offenders:

    Throw DUI’s into jail on the first one. House arrest is not a punishment. Its a joke on the second one.
    Monitor the interlock. I obtained interlock records of offenders and probation ignores violations.
    Probation also reported random alcohol testing wrong or tested an offender once in 6 months.
    Throw probationers in jail for not getting an interlock. Probation officers have a wealth of info at their fingertips to discover cheating but they likely don’t act on it.

    In my state interlock records were moved to the DMV who don’t monitor the records at all!
    Prosecutors only prosecute what a probation officer puts in front of them. Probation officers I met were wimps.
    Judges don’t care. The ones I watched didn’t look at the evals, didn’t vet the counselors and have no idea if a program they send the offender to can show its effective.

    Lawyers lie and delay and manipulate the laws. They should be disciplined for ethics violations immediately upon using delay tactics or lying but thats never going to happen.

    We need a federal register so that all states have access to records. A drunk driver in my state had 5 DUI’s but 4 of them were unknown… until he killed 2 kids.

    DUI’s are big bucks to the legal system;thus that system has no motivation to improve itself.

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.