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With a state population of just over 1 million, Montana continues to have one of the highest per capita alcohol-impaired driving fatality rates in the nation. Last year alone 192 people were killed on Montana’s roads and highways, with alcohol being the leading cause of fatal crashes.

Although these numbers are still too high, Montana has been making real strides in reducing alcohol-impaired crashes. The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped 25% between 2012 and 2014.

According to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, one of the keys to this progress is Montana’s 24/7 Sobriety Program. In early 2010 the state launched a pilot of the program, which requires DUI offenders to abstain from alcohol. Abstinence is enforced and supervised through twice daily breath testing or continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring devices. Since its inception, Montana’s 24/7 Sobriety Program has expanded across 22 of the state’s 56 counties.

A recently released analysis by the RAND Corporation found that Montana’s 24/7 program is an effective way to deter drinking and reoffense among individuals with histories of alcohol-related crime, including drunk driving. Researchers noted that second-time DUI offenders who participated in the program were 45% to 70% less likely to be re-arrested for drunk driving within 12 months.

The 24/7 program is expected to continue to grow to more parts of the state, and the hope is that Montana’s alcohol-impaired driving fatalities will continue to decrease. We look forward to the day Montana loses its designation as one of the worst states regarding alcohol-impaired driving fatality rates.

Mindy Huddleston

Mindy Huddleston

Mindy Huddleston joined SCRAM Systems as part of the Industry Relations team in 2012 and became director of Industry Relations in 2014. Previously, she was the president of Crux Consulting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based agency specializing in government relations, marketing, and project management. Huddleston’s career spans work with several notable organizations, including the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, the National Crime Prevention Council, the International Institute for Alcohol Awareness, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. Huddleston earned her MBA with a marketing concentration from The George Washington University and a BS in International Business/Marketing with a minor in Psychology from The American University. She contributes On the Hill and other special interest, legislative, and government interest content for Sobering Up.


  1. Some of us believe that these reductions are in large part due to the work accomplished by DUI/Drug Courts in Montana. Recent legislative reports indicate that re-offense rates for Montana DUI/Drug Courts is very low for both felony and misdemeanor drug courts. One wonders why this proven strategy for high-risk, high-need offenders was not considered for this article.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jeff! DUI and specialty courts are an important part of the picture and do great work, in Montana and across the country. This article just happened to be about the role that the 24/7 Sobriety Program has played. Thanks for pointing out that there are several factors at work.

  3. I just wanted to compliment the continuing support for 24/7 and the valuable assessment. I have the privilege of presiding over a DUI and a a Veterans Treatment Court in Mintana. Without the 24/7 program our participants who eventually are admitted to the treatment courts would be out on bond with no monitoring in place. The time between arrest , screening for and admission to a drug court is a critical time for monitoring. These two systems work in tandem to jump start sobriety and provide for community safety for these High Risk High Need offenders. Our participants frequently attribute success to being on the 24/7 program while transitioning to the intense supervision and treatment services of the Court.

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