The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has awarded Judge John Kennedy and York County, PA’s Target 25 Program the 2014 Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award for outstanding highway safety accomplishments.
Repeat DUIs in York County
The Target 25 Program originated when Judge Kennedy, who presides over the York County Court of Common Pleas, realized that approximately 25% of the county’s alcohol-impaired drivers were reoffending between the time they were first stopped and the time they appeared at court to enter a plea for the original DUI stop. Judge Kennedy led a local task force to examine how repeat DUI offenders were processed, and this assessment led to the Target 25 Program.
A New Approach
The new protocol requires police to run a driving history on the individual stopped for suspicion of drunk driving. If a prior DUI record exists, the suspect is immediately arrested and taken for an evidentiary blood draw. Shortly thereafter the DUI offender appears before a district judge where bail is set with the conditions of a drug/alcohol evaluation and 24/7 Continuous Alcohol Monitoring. These offenders are monitored for alcohol for approximately 120 days, and jail time is often replaced by house arrest and CAM for convicted Tier 1 and Tier 2 second-time DUI offenders. The costs associated with the monitoring are assumed by the offenders.
Target 25 Sees Big Results
Through the Target 25 Program, the county has experienced a 90% reduction in the number of DUI offenders who were arrested for a subsequent DUI offense within the same year. Before the program started in 2011, 18% of all crime victims in the county were victims of DUI. In 2013, this had been reduced to 6%. State crash data reveals that York County crashes resulting in an injury or fatality due to a drinking driver fell 21% in 2013 compared to the previous three-year average.
The success of the Target 25 Program has other communities taking notice and it is becoming a model for other jurisdictions struggling to address repeat DUI offenders. Congratulations to Judge Kennedy and York County for Making a Difference!