The Use of Alcohol Monitoring Devices for Alcohol Impaired Drivers
Enacted: Feb 2012

WHEREAS, Driving While Impaired (DWI)i offenders comprise a significant portion of the criminal justice population. About 1.5 million arrests occur for impaired driving each yearii.

WHEREAS, approximately one-third of all drivers arrested for DWI are repeat offenders and about half of drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes have a BAC of over .15 at the time of their arrest.iii

WHEREAS, nearly 11,000 people die each year in crashes that involve an impaired driver. This represents 32 percent of all traffic fatalities.iv

WHEREAS, approximately 5.1 million adults were under community supervision at yearend 2008. Public order offenders including those supervised for a DWI or other traffic offense, represented 17% of this population.v

WHEREAS, chemical dependency assessments can effectively identify those DWI offenders who are alcohol-dependent and in need of treatment.

WHEREAS, the chemical dependency assessment should be required and completed during the plea agreement/pre-sentence when possible or, at least, post sentencing. The assessment should be used to decide whether a treatment program should be part of the terms and conditions of the sentence imposed and what type of treatment would be most appropriate.

WHEREAS, a risk and needs assessment instrument utilized for the alcohol-dependent offender should assess criminogenic variables that identify those factors predictive of driving under the influence (DUI)/driving while intoxicated (DWI) recidivism.

WHEREAS, to achieve long term risk reduction, treatment is an essential component in changing behavior of alcohol-dependent drivers.

WHEREAS, ongoing alcohol monitoring has proven effective for the process of recovery for alcohol- dependent drivers.

WHEREAS, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) recognizes the importance of using proven and effective technological tools available to assist Drug Courts and DWI/DUI Courts in supervising alcohol-dependent offenders in conjunction with treatment.

WHEREAS, ensuring an alcohol- dependent offender’s compliance with abstinence is imperative for public safety and enables treatment efforts. The use of monitoring technologies such as, but not limited to continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring devices, ignition interlock devices, and voice recognition monitors are valid and reliable ways to detect alcohol consumption with frequent testing.

WHEREAS, research demonstrates that ignition interlock devices are an effective tool in preventing an alcohol-dependent offender from drinking and driving while the device is installed. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if an offender’s blood alcohol level exceeds a pre-set limit.

WHEREAS, research, has demonstrated that without treatment, once an alcohol monitoring device is removed, recidivism rates eventually return to pre-installation levels.vi

WHEREAS, resources are limited, therefore, proven technological monitoring devices should only be utilized with the impaired driver who is assessed to be at risk for a subsequent impaired driving offense. The emphasis is on the need to screen, assess, treat and monitor the impaired driver.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The American Probation and Parole Association supports the use of proven technological monitoring devices with impaired drivers when the offender has undergone an alcohol assessment, has been assessed as alcohol- dependent, is involved in a comprehensive alcohol treatment program and has been determined to be high risk for continued impaired driving.

iFor the purposes of this report the abbreviation “DWI” will be interchangeable with the terms “DWI”, “DWAI,” and “OWI”.
iiFederal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reports (2009). Table 29. Retrieved from http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_29.html.
iiiHedlund, J., & McCartt, A. (2002). Drunk driving: A roadmap for progress. Trumbull, CT: Preusser Research Group, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/t2002/actes/pdf/(23a.).pdf
ivU.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2010). Traffic safety facts 2009: Alcohol-impaired driving. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811385.PDF.
vGlaze, L., & Bonczar, T.P., (2008). Probation and parole in the United States, 2008. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
viBeirness, D.J., Simpson, H.M., & Robertson, R.D. (2003). International symposium on enhancing the effectiveness of alcohol ignition interlock programs. Traffic Injury Prevention 4 (3), 179-182.