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About the High-Risk Impaired Driver Project

Responsibility.org has collaborated with key partners in the fields of traffic safety, criminal justice, and supervision and treatment to eliminate impaired driving through best practices with a focus on high-risk impaired drivers. The DUI system is complex and contains many gaps and addressing those issues requires practitioners, policymakers, and the public to better understand those gaps and how the system operates and reforms that are needed to effectively reduce recidivism and fatalities. 

What happens during a DUI investigation and arrest? How can drug and alcohol impairment be proven? How does a DUI case move through the court process? What is most effective to prevent repeat DUI? How are offender treatment needs identified and applied? How often are impaired drivers supervised and how is that accomplished? The purpose of this project is to answer these questions and many more while highlighting much-needed changes to the system and best practices in use by states.

This project provides an overview of each phase of the DUI system: Detection/arrest, pre-trial practices, screening and assessment, the court process/sentencing, supervision, and treatment. We identify common challenges as well as system improvements  and how to implement them. The project is a roadmap to fill system gaps and eliminate impaired driving especially among high-risk impaired drivers.

Additional resources include state and federal legislative checklists and program recommendations, data considerations to facilitate research and analyses, and interactive videos and visuals for the media and public to further general knowledge . Promising practices from around the country highlight evidence-based countermeasures for states to replicate. Lastly, this website provides access to Responsibility.org and partner impaired driving courses, guides, policymaker checklists, and other educational resources.    

This project is part of a larger collaboration with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In December 2019, GHSA released a report entitled High-Risk Impaired Drivers: Combating a Critical Threat, that calls for a holistic approach when dealing with these offenders. While the project addresses systemic issues, the challenges identified, and solutions proposed are particularly important for dealing with high-risk impaired drivers who place a greater burden on the system as they require intensive monitoring and frequently have extensive treatment needs. The hope is that by improving the system, high-risk offenders can be identified the first time that they are arrested to change their behavior and eliminate impaired driving.

Acknowledgements

An expert panel was developed for this project representing each facet of the impaired driving system. The panel focused on how to reform the system to produce better outcomes. Through this process, the roadmaps that offer guidance on implementing critical system reforms were produced and are now available to interested practitioners and decision-makers.  

Responsibility.org expresses sincere gratitude and thanks to the experts who offered their valuable insights and shared their experiences. Their contributions made this project possible and have led to the development of resources that we strongly believe will not only improve the way the criminal justice system does business but ultimately, change and save lives.  

Please note that the following list reflects the titles and organizations of working group members at the time of their participation in this project in May 2019.

Law enforcement

Chief Steven Casstevens (IL)
Buffalo Grove Police Department 
[email protected]

Lieutenant Matt Myers (GA)
Peachtree City Police Department
[email protected]

Mike Sabol (DC)
Project Manager, National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
[email protected]

Toxicology

Amy Miles (WI)
Director of Forensic Toxicology, Wisconsin Laboratory of Hygiene
[email protected]

Prosecution

Stephen Talpins (FL)
Chief of Staff, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office
sktalpins[email protected]

Joanne Thomka (VA)
Director, National Traffic Law Center 
[email protected]

Judiciary

Judge Robert Anchondo (TX)
County Criminal Court at Law, El Paso
DWI Academy Court 
NHTSA Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL)
[email protected]

Judge Mike Barrasse (PA)
President Judge, Court of Common Pleas, Lackawanna County, PA
Pennsylvania Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL)
[email protected]

Judge John Kennedy (Ret). (PA)
Court of Common Pleas, York County, PA 
NHTSA Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL)
[email protected] 

Judge Richard Vlavianos (CA)
Superior Court of San Joaquin County, CA
Multi-track DUI Court
NHTSA Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL)
[email protected]

Supervision and Treatment

Jim Eberspacher (MN)
Director, National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC)
[email protected]

Dr. Sarah Nelson 
Director of Research, Division on Addiction
Cambridge Health Alliance
[email protected]

Julie Seitz (MN)
Program Director, National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC)
[email protected]

Mark Stodola (AZ)
Probation Fellow, American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)
[email protected]

Administration and Policy

Pam Fischer (NJ)
Senior Director of External Engagement and Special Projects
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
[email protected]

Lisa Freeman (LA)
Executive Director & Governor's Representative
Louisiana Highway Safety Commission
l[email protected]

Russ Martin (DC)
Director of Policy and Government Relations, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
[email protected]

Elise Simonsen (DC)
Policy Analyst, National Governors Association
[email protected]

Responsibility.org staff:

Brandy Axdahl, Senior Vice President, Responsibility Initiatives, Responsibility.org [email protected]

Maureen Dalbec, Chief Operating Officer & Senior Vice President, Research and Data Analysis [email protected] 

Erin Holmes, Vice President & Technical Writer, Criminal Justice Programs and Policy, Responsibility.org [email protected]

Sam Nathews, Vice President, Communications & Branding [email protected]

Darrin T. Grondel (WA)
Former Director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission 
Chairman, GHSA Board of Directors
Current: Vice President of Traffic Safety and Government Relations, Responsibility.org
[email protected]

Samantha Bloch (CO)
Transportation Policy Associate, National Conference of State Legislatures(NCSL)
[email protected]

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