Law Enforcement Programs & Interventions
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program, with input from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Technical Advisory Panel, and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police created the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) program. ARIDE was created to address a significant gap in training between the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) and the DEC program which consist of the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program.
The SFST program trains officers to identify and assess drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol while the DEC Program provides more advanced training to evaluate suspected drug impairment. The SFST assessment is typically employed at roadside, while an officer trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE) through the DEC Program conducts a drug evaluation in a more controlled environment such as a detention facility.
ARIDE is intended to bridge the gap between these two programs by providing officers with general knowledge related to drug impairment and promoting the use of DREs in states that have the DEC Program. One of the most significant aspects of ARIDE is its review and required student demonstration of the SFST proficiency requirements. The ARIDE program also stresses the importance of securing the most appropriate biological sample in order to identify substances likely causing impairment.
The ARIDE curriculum is designed to be delivered as a stand-alone, 16-hour course. The program of instruction is intended for delivery to as many law enforcement officers as possible, preferably twelve to eighteen months after the training academy. The curriculum is designed to help those officers become more proficient at detecting, apprehending, testing, and prosecuting impaired drivers. ARIDE’s subject matter relates to two curriculums, the DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training.
ARIDE offers additional information to law enforcement officers on detecting impairment caused by more than just alcohol. Oftentimes law enforcement officers that have not received advanced or in-service training regarding drug impairment tend to not be able to identify these characteristics; therefore, they may release an impaired driver. Once an officer completes the training, they will be more proficient with the three SFST’s (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn (WAT), and One Leg Stand (OLS)), as well as possess a broader knowledge of drug impairment indicators. Officers will also be more familiar with the DEC Program and its functions. This will facilitate better communication and transfer of critical roadside indicators of impairment to the evaluating DRE officer for a more complete and accurate assessment of the impairment. Note: ARIDE is advanced training, not a certification.
For more information about ARIDE, contact Joe Abrusci, at [email protected] Eastern IACP DEC Program Project Manager; Jim Maisano, [email protected] Central IACP DEC Program Project Manager; or Chuck Hayes, [email protected] Western IACP DEC Program Project Manager.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association provides annual grants to State Highway Safety Offices to support SFTS, ARIDE, and DRE training. Contact Darrin T. Grondel, VP Traffic Safety and Government Relations for Responsibility.org - [email protected]
Arizona pioneered law enforcement phlebotomy programs and the state’s initiative, which serves as a model for other jurisdictions, has been active for nearly 25 years. The program is funded through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and was conceptualized as a way to address high rates of test refusal in DUI cases. The Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General’s Office collaborated to ensure that existing laws would permit law enforcement officers to draw blood if properly trained. Once it was established that the statute was broad enough, officers underwent training to become certified phlebotomists. By 2000, a specialized 60-hour course was created by Phoenix College specifically for officers and a total of three institutions now offer similar training. While officers who are trained as phlebotomists work primarily on DUI cases, they are also able to assist in other types of criminal investigations.
Since its inception, the law enforcement phlebotomy program has been highly successful. When the program began in 1995, there was a 20% statewide refusal rate and by 2009 this had declined to 6%. In addition to supporting the program, a public awareness campaign was launched to educate the public that officers could obtain blood draws even if suspects refused to submit to chemical testing. The Arizona GOHS continues to fund the program and views it as integral to streamlining DUI investigations. Not only has it led to a reduction in refusals, it also reduces the amount of time it takes to collect a chemical sample as officers no longer have to transport suspects to medical facilities and rely on practitioners to draw blood. More information about Arizona’s model program can be accessed here.
Contact: Alberto Gutier (Director, Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety); [email protected]
In Arizona, the development of the eSearch warrant and eReturn applications for blood draws in DUI cases began in the summer of 2011 in Maricopa County. The following year, the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court in Maricopa County issued an administrative order authorizing a two-year electronic search warrant pilot. Once the eSearch warrant and eReturn applications were made permanent, it was expanded to include all Department of Public Safety (DPS) law enforcement officers across the state to allow them access to the system.
The Maricopa County Superior Court and Phoenix Police Department held three informational sessions with law enforcement to collaborate on the design, development of policies, and implementation of the system. The Superior Court received grants from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to develop the software and enhance the law enforcement officer website to include the return of service. The first grant was provided in the amount of $30,576 to build the software and cover training costs. The second grant was provided by the State Administrative Office of the Courts in the amount of $87,838 to modify the software to enhance the application for use by DPS statewide.
The eSearch warrant application was designed and programmed in-house by the court information technology department as part of the court’s information system. Officers are assigned a serial number to access the application via the Internet. The application includes a series of checkboxes and pull-down menus that allow the officer to indicate the type of offense, qualifications and training, probable cause for the stop, roadside tests administered, suspect behavior, and refusals. Judges receive notice of a pending request and can log onto the system into their “work queue,” which shows affidavits they have received and their status (i.e., new, in progress, completed). The average time to secure an electronic warrant using the Maricopa County system is between 15-20 minutes. Since implementation, there has been a 13% increase in DUI search warrants. In the summer of 2018, the software was modified to allow all 14 counties and all cities in Arizona access to use the DUI eSearch warrant and eReturn applications.
Contact: Detective Brett Campbell (City of Phoenix Police Department, Vehicular Crimes Unit); [email protected]
Delaware was the first state to implement an integrated criminal justice information system that supported electronic sharing of criminal justice information among the criminal justice community. DELJIS has been in existence since 1983, and it is constantly changing to meet the needs of system participants, including law enforcement. eWarrants was built into the DELJIS platform, making Delaware one of the first states to use automated warrants.
Delaware first implemented an automated warrant system in 1991, allowing law enforcement to enter complaint data through a mainframe system using Microsoft Word fillable forms to create warrants online. DELJIS later converted the Microsoft Word form into a PDF and housed it on its system. The request for adding blood draw eWarrants to DELJIS was accelerated through the issuance of a policy memo by the Chief Magistrate. The design and implementation were a collaboration of the courts, DELJIS, the state prosecutor, and state and local law enforcement. The costs for automating and incorporating warrants into the DELJIS platform were absorbed into the DELJIS budget as a part of routine system improvements. Thus, the primary cost to the state was for equipment to allow law enforcement to access the system remotely.
Law enforcement officers access DELJIS and the eWarrant form with a secure sockets layer (SSL) account through the Internet using laptops, tablets, and desktops. Upon logging into the system, officers enter the suspect’s name and date of birth. The DELJIS system automatically searches for the individual to find additional information including criminal history and can access the state’s department of motor vehicles records. Officers complete the remainder of the request using fillable fields on location of incident, actions of the defendant, statements made, and other facts supporting probable cause. A PDF document is produced, which is then faxed to the on-call judge. The on-call judge swears the officer in via video conference. After review and approval, officers receive the signed PDF via fax. Judges use their bar code as an electronic signature. DUI blood, draw warrants receive priority within the system, and the average turnaround time is approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
Contact: Peggy Bell (Executive Director Delaware Criminal Justice Information System); [email protected]
A drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) coordinates the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to officers, who are certified as DREs, the DEC Program educates prosecutors and toxicologists on the DRE process and the drug categories.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) originated the program in the early 1970s when LAPD officers noticed that many of the individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) had very low or zero alcohol concentrations. The officers reasonably suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs, but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions. In response, two LAPD sergeants collaborated with various medical doctors, research psychologists, and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979.
The LAPD DRE program attracted NHTSA’s attention in the early 1980s. The two agencies collaborated to develop a standardized DRE protocol, which led to the development of the DEC Program. During the ensuing years, NHTSA and various other agencies and research groups examined the DEC Program. Their studies demonstrated that a properly trained DRE can successfully identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.
In 1987, NHTSA initiated DEC pilot programs in Arizona, Colorado, New York and Virginia. The states of Utah, California, and Indiana were added in 1988. Beginning in 1989, IACP and NHTSA expanded the DEC Program across the country. Currently, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and several other countries around the world participate in the DEC Program.
In 1992 the governing board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police approved the creation of the Drug Recognition Section. (For more information on the DRE Section’s mission, goals, and bylaws, click on “Program Oversight.”)
On June 10-13, 1995, the section hosted a training conference on impaired driving in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then the IACP Training Conference on Drugs, Alcohol, and Impaired Driving has convened every year and is attended by DREs, DUI enforcement officers, prosecutors, toxicologists, medical and school professionals, and other highway safety advocates.
For more information about DRE, contact Joe Abrusci, at [email protected] Eastern IACP DEC Program Project Manager; Jim Maisano, [email protected] Central IACP DEC Program Project Manager; or Chuck Hayes, [email protected] Western IACP DEC Program Project Manager.
Idaho initially established a phlebotomy program in 2009. The year prior, the Nampa Police Department instituted a no refusal policy for blood draws in DWI cases and determined that training officers as phlebotomists would help enforce this policy and be the most cost-effective option available. Grant funds were provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the Nampa Police Department to implement a small-scale program similar to Arizona’s well-established model. The Nampa program began with 10 officers being trained as phlebotomists. The College of Western Idaho provided the training which included 48 hours of pre-course work, 30 hours of class training, and an additional 40 hours of clinical training.
To maximize potential deterrence, the Nampa Police Department worked with the local media to promote the new program and to ensure that accurate information was provided to the public. For example, it was important that people understood that the officers were trained as phlebotomists and that all blood draws that these officers perform are done in a controlled environment. Members of the press were even invited to observe officers completing their training. Following the launch of the program, refusal rates in Nampa have declined and more impaired driving suspects now agree to submit to breath tests.
Idaho’s law enforcement phlebotomy program has since expanded to several other police departments and sheriff offices following the success of the initial rollout in Nampa. Currently, the Caldwell Police Department, Homedale Police Department, Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls Police Department, Coeur d’Alene Police Department, and Pocatello Police Department all have officers who have completed phlebotomy training.
Contact: Jared Olson (Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association); [email protected]
In the United States, Michigan became the first state to implement an oral fluid pilot as a result of state legislation (Public Act 243). This legislation was passed following the deaths of Barbara and Thomas Swift who were killed by a drug-impaired commercial driver. Their son, Brian Swift, advocated for the oral fluid legislation to provide law enforcement with tools to identify drivers who are under the influence of drugs and prevent other families from enduring the same tragedy as his own.
The initial pilot was conducted in five counties (Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw) and utilized DREs to administer the oral fluid test as part of their DUI investigation. Another important aspect of the Michigan law is that refusal to submit to an oral fluid test is a civil infraction. In all previous oral fluid pilots, submitting to a test was done on a purely voluntary basis. The refusal penalty was added to compel suspected impaired drivers to provide an oral fluid sample. The Michigan State Police (MSP) was given the authority to develop a written policy and promulgate administrative rules as necessary for the implementation of the program. The pilot ran for one year and the data collected was analyzed and the results of the pilot were released in a report to the state legislature. The recommendation of the Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program Committee was that “the pilot program be expanded for one year to include all DREs in the state of Michigan” as the results were promising but the sample size of 92 tests was deemed too small to make the program permanent.
In December 2018, the Michigan Legislature agreed to support the ongoing funding of the oral fluid pilot and the expansion of the program to additional interested, qualified counties around the state. An appropriation of $626,000 for the extension of the Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program was included in the supplemental funding bill that became Public Act 618. Training for the expanded statewide pilot began in the fall of 2019 with more than 40 participating law enforcement agencies. This pilot will run for a year and upon its completion, another report will be submitted to the legislature. Other states are encouraged to learn lessons from Michigan’s experience. The hope is that if the larger program produces promising results that the legislature and law enforcement agencies will transition from the pilot phase and make the use of oral fluid screening a standard part of impaired driving investigations in Michigan.
Contact: First Lieutenant Shannon Sims (Michigan State Police); [email protected]
In Minnesota, the courts use a statewide electronic charging system, known as e-Charging, for criminal complaints and to move information between law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and the state driver and vehicle services department. In addition to criminal complaints and search warrants, e-Charging is used for electronic citation processing, DWI processing, and law enforcement incident report submission to prosecutors. Minnesota prioritized the development of eSearch warrants for blood draws in DWI cases because in addition to court decisions requiring search warrants for blood or urine tests, the state was experiencing a growing number of legal challenges around blood draws and implied consent. These factors combined with a significant increase in blood draw requests and the challenges to obtaining time-sensitive warrants in rural areas provided the needed impetus for the creation of an electronic system.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) was responsible for the planning, design, and implementation of the eSearch warrant application with a $350,000 grant from the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. A collaborative group of stakeholders, including law enforcement, the State Court Administrator’s Office, and district court judges, worked together to draft the warrant template. The roll-out of eWarrants for DWIs began in October 2016 with a 3-month pilot program, first with the Minnesota State Police in Hennepin County. By mid-November 2016, eight municipal police departments had been added to the pilot, with successive roll-outs across the state by judicial district. By April 2017, the system had gone statewide.
Officers seeking a warrant for a blood test log onto a secure portal to complete and submit an electronic search warrant application to a judge. The system is designed to interface with Driver and Vehicle Services so that the officer can conduct a search based on name and date of birth to confirm the identity of the suspect and auto-populate the demographic fields (e.g., address; driver’s license) as well as the vehicle information. The on-call judge receives an email with a hyperlink directly to the warrant in the system. After reviewing the warrant, the judge may either issue it by applying an electronic signature or reject the application. Experienced officers typically can prepare warrants in 10 minutes or less, and officers report the average processing time, from submission to judicial approval, is between 15- 20 minutes. Since the eSearch warrant became available, Minnesota law enforcement officers have submitted over 2,500 applications for DWI-related search warrants. Ninety-eight percent of those applications are approved and result in the judge issuing a search warrant. In addition, the error rate on DWI forms has been reduced from 30% to nearly 0%.
Contact: Kent Therkelsen (Product Manager, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension); [email protected]
The refusal of impaired driving suspects to submit to chemical tests is an obstacle in DUI investigations that law enforcement and prosecutors frequently encounter, particularly with individuals who have prior convictions. Many DUI suspects refuse to answer questions, perform standardized field sobriety tests, or provide chemical samples when asked to do so in an effort to hinder the investigation. By refusing to submit to a chemical test, suspects deprive law enforcement of some of the strongest evidence of alcohol impairment. Those who have been through the system in the past know the importance of breath test results and are likely to realize that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the per se limit (in most instances, well above .08). To deter individuals from refusing to submit to chemical tests, many states have passed laws that attach penalties to test refusal. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions, these sanctions are far less severe than those associated with a DUI conviction and therefore, impaired drivers have an incentive to refuse a breath test.
The No Refusal program was first implemented in Texas in 2005 to address high rates of test refusal. Law enforcement and prosecutors sought to create a program that enables officers to quickly obtain warrants for blood draws, thereby eliminating the ability of suspects to refuse to submit to tests. The program involves a coordinated effort among law enforcement, judges/magistrates, prosecutors, and medical personnel that facilitates expedited processing of DUI cases. No Refusal nights or weekends are a popular approach that can supplement existing high visibility enforcement initiatives such as sobriety checkpoints or DUI mobilizations. What differentiates the No Refusal program from other mobilizations is the degree of collaboration from key stakeholders. These efforts are coordinated in advance and done so with the intention of streamlining DUI investigations and simultaneously creating general deterrence.
The No Refusal process is simple. Once an officer determines that there is probable cause for a DUI arrest and the suspect refuses to submit to a breath test, the prosecutor assigned to the effort will review the case and make a warrant application to an on-call judge. If the judge grants the warrant (typically over the phone or via other electronic means), a blood sample can be quickly collected by qualified medical personnel who are on-site. In counties that have mobile DUI processing vehicles, the entire process can be handled from start to finish at a checkpoint location. This collaborative and efficient approach ensures that blood draws are performed without delay and assists in building a strong impaired driving case.
Similar to other high visibility enforcement efforts, the No Refusal program is effective due to the general deterrence it creates. To maximize impact, media coverage in advance of No Refusal weekends is necessary. The goal of coverage is two-fold: 1) make the public aware of the increased law enforcement presence, thereby increasing the perception that DUI will result in arrest; and, 2) make the public aware that refusing to submit to a breath test or blood draw will result in law enforcement quickly obtaining a warrant for a forcible blood draw. Furthermore, the public should also be made aware that refusal will only lead to additional sanctions. Stakeholders involved in No Refusal initiatives consistently report that once it becomes apparent that officers can easily obtain a warrant for blood draws, many individuals who initially refuse to provide a breath sample will eventually choose to submit to the less invasive breathalyzer.
Evaluations have revealed that No Refusal programs are successful. After implementation of the program, Montgomery County reduced refusals at sobriety checkpoints from 50% in 2005 to 10% in 2010 (NHTSA, n.d.). Conviction rates have increased, and DUI case dismissals have decreased since No Refusal Weekends have been implemented in Texas (NHTSA, n.d.). The Phoenix Police Department reported a decrease in the refusal rate from 40% to 5% after implementation of the No Refusal program (Berning et al., 2007). In a study of test refusals effect on DUI prosecutions, Jones and Nichols (2012) found that there was a reasonably strong and negative relationship between the DUI conviction rate in selected study counties and the overall refusal rate for that state. In other words, in states with high refusal rates, DUI conviction rates are likely to be low.
States that have previously/continue to conduct No Refusal nights or weekends include: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, and Utah. In addition, many other states have the legal authority to conduct No Refusal-type programs and could integrate this strategy into existing high visibility enforcement efforts.
Contact: Access the NHTSA No Refusal Weekend Toolkit here - https://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/planners/NoRefusalWeekend/index.htm
The state court system introduced an electronic warrant pilot program in the spring of 2008, in response to a court decision (State v. Rodriguez, 156 P.3d 771 (2007)). The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Salt Lake City District Attorney’s Office, and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), with collaboration from judges, came together to build an eWarrants system to speed up access to warrants in DUI cases. Since more than 90% of state law enforcement is connected to the Utah Criminal Justice Information System (UCJIS), which unifies data from dozens of separate data sources and agencies, the decision was made to incorporate the eWarrants system into the UCJIS platform.
To build the system, a grant of $30,000 was provided to DPS to hire a contractor for the additional programming, which was supplemented with additional JAG funds. Additional and ongoing funding comes from impound fees. Patrol cars in Utah are equipped with computer terminals with Internet capabilities that officers use to log into UCJIS to initiate the warrant request. Each officer has an assigned username and security token that is tied to his/her qualifications and training, allowing the hero statement of the officer’s training and qualifications to be auto-populated. The remainder of the warrant includes both drop-down menus and text fields to streamline the process and reduce errors.
The state uses a rotation system for assigning judges to review warrants. When the officer chooses the jurisdiction and county in which the warrant is being issued, the UCJIS system automatically selects one of the on-call judges. The system then generates a text and email message that is sent to the assigned judge to notify him/her there is a warrant pending review. The penalty of perjury statement eliminates the need for administering the oath in-person or via video call. Thus, upon receipt of the warrant, the judge can promptly review and affix his/her electronic signature if the warrant is approved and return it electronically. The entire process averages 20 minutes from request to judicial approval, although it can take up to an hour. With the implementation of eWarrants, Utah has improved its test submission rate from 77% to 96%. There has also been tremendous buy-in from stakeholders on the use of the electronic warrant system in Utah, especially in rural areas where there is limited access to judges.
Contact: Trooper Jason Marshall (State Drug Recognition Expert Coordinator, Utah Highway Patrol); [email protected]
In 2017, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) provided grant funds to launch a law enforcement phlebotomy pilot program with the Lakewood Police Department. This program began with six officers certified to perform blood draws and within a year, the program had expanded to include the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department with an additional 20 officers receiving certification. In total, WTSC provided close to $150,000 in grant funds to ensure that the region had sufficient coverage.
All officers who are interested in participating in the phlebotomy program receive training at Bates Technical College where they obtain a certificate in phlebotomy. Once certified, these officers are also able to use their certification outside of the law enforcement phlebotomy program. The blood draws are performed in controlled locations within the stations that are outfitted with both audio and video recording capabilities; funds have been utilized to purchase specialized equipment including phlebotomy chairs.
Similar to the experience in Idaho, the participating Washington agencies worked with the media to share information about the program to ensure accurate reporting. To raise awareness among the general public, a press conference was held, and the Lakewood Police Department demonstrated the blood draw procedure. Videos from these demonstrations are available online. Overall, the initial programs in Lakewood and Pierce County were deemed to be highly successful. In fact, the Lakewood program was recognized with a Municipal Excellence Award. Since the rollout of these programs in 2018, other police departments and law enforcement agencies from across the state have requested WTSC funds to establish their own programs.
Contact: Edica Esqueda (Program Manager, Washington Traffic Safety Commission); [email protected]
West Virginia was the last state to establish a DEC Program with the first officers receiving certification as Drue Recognition Experts (DREs) in 2014. While the state lagged in initiating the program, in the years since it has steadily expanded and can now serve as a model for other states. For several years, West Virginia has been significantly affected by the opioid epidemic and as of 2017, it has the highest age-adjusted rate of opioid overdose deaths in the country. The pervasive nature of drug problems within the state led the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and law enforcement to initiate the state’s DEC program. Under the leadership of the state DRE coordinator and with continual funding from GHSP, the program has grown to 47 DREs within five years. In 2017, West Virginia was one of several states that were awarded a Responsibility.org/GHSA drug-impaired driving grant in recognition of both the growing need for more DREs as well as the significant progress made in establishing the program. The training done to date has been extremely effective and this is reflected in arrest data. Prior to the establishment of the program, drug-related DUI arrests accounted for less than 4% of all DUI arrests in West Virginia. In 2017, 37% of all DUI arrests were drug-related. Stakeholders in West Virginia attribute much of this increase to the dedicated training efforts that have occurred in recent years.
In addition to adhering to an aggressive training schedule, the stakeholders involved in the West Virginia DEC Program also formed a Drug Recognition Expert’s Technical Advisory Panel to address state-specific issues. After establishing the program, there was also a commitment to better understand the nature of the state’s impaired driving problem. To ensure that officers are able to easily and efficiently report data from drug evaluations, West Virginia became involved in the DRE Data Entry and Management System that was created by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management & Research (ITSMR) in New York. This system is designed to improve the oversight and monitoring of the DRE program and facilitates data collection and analysis. West Virginia is one of several states that requires all DREs to enter drug evaluation data into a tablet application that transmits this information to a larger database where it can be used for research and evaluation. Grant funding was secured to offset equipment costs (e.g., tablets) for officers and facilitate the data collection process.
The analysis of DRE evaluation data has assisted West Virginia law enforcement in identifying drug trends and informing patrol strategies. For example, many drug-impaired driving arrests were found to occur during the daytime as opposed to when traditional DUI enforcement is conducted, and DRE evaluation data supported this finding as 51% of all cases involving a DRE were initiated between 8:00am-8:00pm. Subsequently, law enforcement agencies within the state are now exploring strategies to combat drug-impaired driving during daytime hours.
Contact: Officer Joey Koher (State DEC Coordinator, Huntington Police Department); [email protected]
Toxicology Programs & Practices
The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) and the Alabama Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program conducted a multi-year oral fluid pilot program to validate the use of oral fluid screening in the field by trained law enforcement officers as well as oral fluid confirmation testing at ADFS. As part of this pilot which commenced in 2016, three oral fluid screening instruments were evaluated along with Quantisal evidential collection. Upon analysis of data from the pilot, it was found that the use of roadside oral fluid screening combined with either blood or oral fluid confirmation testing has the ability to improve impaired driving investigations and potentially identify more drug and polysubstance-impaired drivers. This can lead to improvements in highway safety and reductions in fatalities.
Following the successful pilot study, Alabama became the first state to transition to a permanent oral fluid program. ADFS opted to create a program that utilizes booth oral fluid screening at roadside and evidentiary confirmation testing using a separate oral fluid sample. Three instruments have been validated and approved for use at roadside including the SoToxa (Abbott), Drug Test 5000 (Draeger), and MultiStat (Randox). Each of these devices screen for the presence of the most commonly abused drugs including cannabis, opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. ADFS advises that the devices should be used in a manner similar to preliminary breath tests as a positive result can assist an officer in establishing probable cause in conjunction with other evidence. Once an arrest is made, an evidential chemical sample must be collected to submit to the laboratory for confirmation testing.
The second aspect of the ADFS oral fluid drug testing program involves the collection of an evidentiary oral fluid sample. Previously, officers would have to collect a blood sample in drug-impaired driving cases which requires a warrant in instances where the suspect refuses to voluntarily submit to the blood draw. By giving officers the option to collect an evidentiary oral fluid sample, chemical evidence can be collected and preserved in a less invasive and more efficient manner. While the ideal scenario is the collection of both a blood and oral fluid sample to obtain as much evidence as possible, the addition of evidential oral fluid testing affords officers more flexibility in these cases. ADFS supplies Quantisal collection tubes for evidential testing and officers are trained on how to properly obtain and submit these samples to the lab for analysis. Evidential oral fluid samples are tested for more than 20 substances including drugs of abuse and prescription medications that are commonly found in impaired driving cases.
Contact: Dr. Curt Harper (Chief Forensic Toxicologist, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences); [email protected]
The Orange County Crime Lab has taken a comprehensive approach to testing in impaired driving cases which has led to the collection of county-wide data. The practices employed at the lab can serve as a model for other jurisdictions that are considering expanding drug testing in traffic-related cases. Through this testing protocol, Orange County has been able to obtain robust data regarding the magnitude and characteristics of the alcohol, drug, and polysubstance-impaired driving problem within the jurisdiction. To date, both drug and polysubstance-impaired driving data has been limited on account of a lack of testing, particularly in cases where the driver is found to have an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The Orange County model ensures that these drivers are identified which not only provides practitioners and decision-makers with information to guide policy and resource allocation, it also assists prosecutors in the adjudication of impaired driving cases.
Using sophisticated instrumentation, the Orange County Crime Lab has implemented a protocol where every single blood sample in DUI cases is tested for the presence of drugs. This includes samples that have BAC levels above the illegal limit of .08. When samples arrive at the lab, analyses are performed to identify alcohol, inhalants, and seven different classifications of drugs. In total, the lab reports drug concentrations in blood for 72 different compounds. The Orange County Crime Lab is one of only a handful of forensic labs that has pursued this level of testing and, as such, can inform scientific literature about the prevalence of different types of drugs among fatally-injured drivers and suspects in DUI cases. In Congressional testimony, Assistant Director Jennifer Harmon noted that the Crime Lab has found that in Orange County, approximately 45% of impaired drivers test positive for the presence of at least one drug. Polysubstance-impaired driving is also a significant problem as 29% of drivers with a BAC above .08 test positive for at least one drug. Moreover, for DUI suspects that do not test positive for alcohol, approximately 40% are found to have three or more drugs in their system. Among fatally-injured drivers, 56% test positive for at least one drug with the majority testing positive for alcohol or THC (the main psychoactive component in cannabis).
The success of the lab goes beyond merely testing as there is a heavy emphasis placed on cross-training with other practitioners including law enforcement, particularly drug recognition experts (DREs), and prosecutors. Forensic toxicologists learn from officers in the field and vice versa about observed impairment, drug concentrations, substance interaction, and emerging drug trends. Information-sharing among these entities ensures that practitioners maintain current knowledge about the nature of the impaired driving problem within the county. Further, training with prosecutors has led to improved testimony and outcomes in court. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has a vertical prosecution program for drug-impaired driving cases and a conviction rate of over 95%.
In Orange County, the crime lab has faced many of the challenges that are common to forensic testing entities. Namely, increases in the volume of samples without corresponding increases in the level of resources needed to handle this influx. In her testimony, Jennifer Harmon noted that over the previous eight years, the lab experienced a 60% increase in the number of examinations performed on toxicology samples and a 100% increase in the number of drug-impaired driving cases that were processed. During this timeframe, there was also a 25% reduction in the level of lab staffing. Despite these capacity issues, the county remains committed to conducting high quality and comprehensive testing in all cases which includes performing drug analyses in samples where alcohol is present. A key to the success of this initiative has been the level of collaboration and buy-in among partners. The Crime Lab has a memorandum of understanding from the County Board of Supervisors to provide forensic services without additional cost to agencies. While supplemental grant funding has been received from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the Sheriff’s Office has remained supportive of the drug testing program even without the additional funding to offset costs.
Today, the lab is in the process of expanding its testing protocol. Plans are underway to begin testing blood samples in every traffic-related case (including both deceased and surviving drivers) for the presence of more than 300 drugs. This includes a wide array of illicit drugs, synthetic and designer drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications with known impairing effects. This broad testing will serve to further enhance the quality of the county-wide data and allow for trend analyses. Other states should look to this example to inform practice.
Contact: Matthew Nix (Assistant Director of Forensic Chemistry) [email protected].
Washington State has consistently invested in building and expanding lab capacity for forensic testing. Following the passage of Initiative 502 which legalized recreational cannabis for adult use, there was recognition that likely increases in drug-impaired driving cases would require greater investment in state labs to reduce potential backlog in sample processing. As predicted, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Toxicology Laboratory experienced a 63% increase in suspected impaired driving cases between 2012 and 2016. The percentage of these cases that tested positive for THC (the main psychoactive component in cannabis) increased from 19% in 2012 to 33% in 2016 (Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 2018).
To assist the lab in handling this influx in testing, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) has continued to supply grant funding to increase both the quality and efficiency of testing processes. This includes providing funds for additional personnel, lab instrumentation and equipment as well as data-analysis software that reduces the amount of time that lab personnel spend on casework and documentation. WTSC has supported the lab in an effort to reduce the wait times in processing blood samples in DUI cases and reporting the results. Backlog remains a common concern in most jurisdictions as significant delays can result in impaired driving cases proceeding to trial without chemical evidence which can make it difficult to secure convictions. While WTSC has invested heavily in lab upgrades, additional resources have also been provided to train toxicologists on how to deliver effective testimony in court. Lastly, funds have been made available to facilitate external drug testing in some impaired driving cases to decrease the financial strain on the lab’s operational budget.
Not only has WTSC provided funds to improve lab effectiveness and efficiency, it has also invested in research. Some of the most robust drug-impaired driving data currently available (specifically cannabis-impaired driving data), has been released by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. In a series of reports, retrospective analysis of blood samples in fatal crashes over multiple years has been analyzed for the presence of THC as well as active and inactive cannabis metabolites. These reports have provided information about the prevalence of cannabis-impaired driving both pre and post-legalization and have delineated between the presence of various cannabinoids in the body including the psychoactive components and inactive metabolites. Furthermore, some of these analyses have quantified the concentrations of THC in the blood revealing that many fatally-injured drivers have nanogram levels below the 5ng per se limit. These analyses have also provided insight into the increasing prevalence of polysubstance-impaired driving as the most recent report identifies polysubstance impairment as the most common type of impairment found among drivers involved in fatal crashes in the state. In fact, among drivers in fatal crashes between 2008 and 2016 that tested positive for alcohol or drugs, 44% tested positive for two or more substances with alcohol and THC being the most common combination.
Contact: Pam Pannkuk (Deputy Director Washington Traffic Safety Commission) [email protected]
Adjudication Programs & Approaches
An example of a strong DUI unit and vertical prosecution in impaired driving cases can be found at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (ODCA). The ODCA receives grant funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to administer an alcohol and drug-impaired driver prosecution program and a statewide DUI/D training program that houses the California Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor network. For nearly a decade, OCDA has taken the lead in developing innovative approaches to the prosecution of impaired driving cases including a collaborative model that integrates prosecution, investigation, and toxicology in drug-impaired driving cases. OCDA currently administers the TSRP program and is responsible for delivering training statewide to both law enforcement and prosecutors. Beginning in 2017, the office has focused on creating a statewide training, resource, and education network which allows agencies throughout California to share expertise related to the investigation and prosecution of traffic crimes. In addition to providing training in the field, OCDA has also created public awareness videos and materials aimed at educating Californians about the dangers of drug-impaired driving.
The OCDA receives more than a million dollars in OTS grant funds each year to oversee training and to maintain multiple vertical prosecution positions throughout the county. These prosecutors exclusively handle drug-impaired driving cases and they are responsible for reviewing the cases, filing charges, and seeing those cases through to resolution. This approach to adjudication has shown to improve prosecutorial efforts and outcomes. The grant funds are used to cover the salaries/dedicated hours of the deputy district attorneys who have a DUI/D vertical prosecution caseload. The vertical prosecution program has proven so successful in Orange County that other counties across the state have applied for OTS grant funds to establish their own units (e.g., Riverside County, Sonoma County, etc.).
Contact: Hoon Chang (Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Orange County District Attorney’s Office); [email protected]
Traffic safety resource prosecutors (TSRPs) are typically current or former prosecutors who provide training, education, and technical support to traffic crimes prosecutors and law enforcement personnel throughout their States. Traffic crimes and safety issues include alcohol and/or drug impaired driving, distracted driving, vehicular homicide, occupant restraint, and other highway safety issues. Each TSRP must assess the needs and demands unique to his or her own State and work in conjunction with many agencies to meet these needs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, law enforcement agencies, judicial organizations, crime laboratories (including forensic toxicologists), medical examiners, local media, Governor’s Highway Safety Offices’, victim advocate groups, and resources available from the National District Attorneys Association’s National Traffic Law Center should all be used to facilitate services to all prosecutors and law enforcement.
Contact: Joanne Thomka, Director, National Traffic Law Center; [email protected]
Screening and Assessment
The Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) is a risk and needs screening and assessment instrument that is validated specifically among the impaired driver population. CARS was developed to fill a void in practice by accurately identifying DUI offender risk levels as well as co-occurring mental health disorders that are common among this population. For more information and to download the free software, visit: www.carstrainingcenter.org
CARS was initially developed with grant funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which provided support to the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance (a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate). The assessment is adapted from the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) which is a reliable and internationally-validated instrument that has the added benefit of being developed for use by lay interviewers. Using funding and support from Responsibility.org, the team at the Division on Addiction adapted and repackaged the CIDI in a format more suitable for use in clinical settings and with DUI offenders.
Unlike traditional paper-and-pencil assessments, CARS combines a standardized substance use and mental health assessment with a user-friendly interface. The tool operates on free, open source software that generates immediate personalized diagnostic reports that contain information about a client’s mental health profile, a summary of risk factors, and targeted referrals to treatment services within their geographic area that match their individual needs. Similar to the CIDI, CARS has been developed in such a way that its use is not limited to clinicians and/or researchers; instead, the computerized and user-friendly nature of CARS allows practitioners who lack clinical training or experience in the area of mental health to perform the assessment.
CARS is available in three formats – a full assessment, an interviewer-administered screener, and a self-administered screener. The full assessment is divided into modules addressing various mental disorders and psychosocial factors. The instrument provides immediate diagnostic information for multiple DSM-V disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder), substance use disorders, conduct disorder, etc. In the full assessment, respondents first complete a screening module, and are then only referred to modules for which the client screened into, increasing the efficiency of the instrument. In addition, there is flexibility within the use of the full assessment, allowing the individual or program administering the tool to tailor it – practitioners can select any subset of modules to be turned on or off and can also identify whether they want to assess individuals for the presence of disorders throughout their lifetime or in the past 12 months. The full assessment can take a couple of hours to complete and provides detailed diagnostic information.
The CARS screeners are often a more viable option in courts or programs that lack the resources or time to administer the full assessment. Recognizing that resources are limited, the CHA team created the two versions of the screener to allow for more options and to provide practitioners with an accurate indication of risk as well as identify potential treatment needs that require further assessment. The screener takes an average of 15-40 minutes to complete which is largely dependent on the degree to which the client shares information.
For all versions of CARS, individual diagnostic reports are generated within seconds after the screening or assessment is complete. The reports provide information about the mental health disorders for which a person qualifies or is at risk, his or her experience of symptoms, as well as a summary of bio-psycho-social risk factors. Practitioners have noted that these reports are valuable and can help in establishing a rapport with clients as review of the findings conveys transparency and also provides an opportunity for these individuals to begin thinking about the behavior and other relevant issues. This has the potential to move them towards readiness for change.
CARS is available, free of cost, to any court or criminal justice agency interested in improving the screening and assessment of impaired drivers. The software along with accompanying background information and training materials are available online at www.carstrainingcenter.org. Since its release in the summer of 2017, CARS has nearly 800 registrants and is being utilized in every facet of the justice system including pre-trial services, traditional courts, treatment courts, probation/community corrections agencies, treatment providers, etc. The feedback has been strong as practitioners report that the use of CARS has improved their ability to identify and address the treatment needs of impaired drivers, particularly mental health issues that they were previously unable to diagnose. The state of Colorado integrated CARS within its felony DUI offender treatment program (Level II 4+) and the state of Louisiana is set to include CARS within a new case management system. Recent enhancements made to the tool include the translation of Spanish versions of the screeners and a DSM-V update to ensure that the instrument utilizes the most recent diagnostic criteria within each module. CARS-5, the most recent version of the software, is available for download as of the first quarter of 2020.
CARS updates and access to the tool can be found at www.carstrainingcenter.org. To learn more about Responsibility.org’s involvement with CARS along with the piloting of the tool in various criminal justice settings, visit our webpage and read the process evaluation report.
Contact: Erin Holmes (Vice President of Criminal Justice Programs & Policy / Technical Writer, Responsibility.org); [email protected]
The DUI-RANT is a screening/triage tool that is designed for use in quickly screening impaired drivers. This tool was developed by a team of researchers at the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) and it was derived from the RANT which is an empirically-based risk and needs triage tool. The DUI-RANT can be used in a number of criminal justice settings but is especially valuable in high volume courts or agencies that are seeking to make quick decisions with respect to offender placement, supervision levels, and degree to which treatment intervention is necessary. The tool consists of less than 20 questions and can typically be completed in less than 10 minutes. As the DUI-RANT is a triage tool, it can be easily administered by non-clinicians and requires minimal training.
The purpose of the instrument is to quickly identify the quadrant of the risk and needs matrix that an offender fits within. This information assists practitioners in identifying which offenders require intensive supervision as well as treatment interventions. The DUI-RANT identifies whether an offender is high-risk or low-risk for recidivism and whether they have high needs or low needs that require further assessment and a personalized treatment plan. According to the RANT classification system, individuals who score high-risk/high need may be best suited for intensive supervision and clinical services whereas individuals who score high-risk/low need may require more intensive supervision but less intensive clinical service or may not require any treatment interventions. For those who score low-risk/high needs the focus should be on identifying appropriate clinical services and treatment interventions, but a lower level of supervision is required. Lastly, low-risk/low needs individuals are likely to be the portion of the offender population that self-corrects. It is important to identify these offenders because subjecting them to unnecessary levels of supervision or treatment and exposing them to higher risk offenders could lead to poor outcomes. To identify where an offender fits within the matrix, the DUI-RANT measures a number of different domains including age of onset of criminal activity and substance use; deviant peer affiliations; prior failure in drug/alcohol rehabilitation and diversion programs; prior felony or serious misdemeanors; physical addiction to drugs/alcohol; chronic medical and mental health conditions, etc.
Unlike the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) and the Impaired Driving Assessment (IDA), there are licensing fees associated with the use of the DUI-RANT. This means that agencies interested in using the tool must establish a licensing agreement that grants access to a number of licenses for a specified period of time (typically one year). The licensing fees can be prohibitive for agencies that lack significant resources. Learn more about the RANT and the DUI-RANT here.
Contact: General inquiries at the Treatment Research Institute regarding RANT – [email protected] or call 1-866-453-9262
The Impaired Driving Assessment was developed by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The IDA was designed for community corrections practitioners and, as such, it is primarily a risk assessment although it does examine criminogenic needs. The impetus for its development was recognition that generic risk assessment tools do not accurately capture DUI offender risk level. Tools that have not been validated specifically among impaired drivers tend to score these offenders, including repeat offenders, as low-risk when intuitively, practitioners know that they are actually at heightened risk to recidivate. There are many reasons why generic tools are inadequate for use among this population, but in general, DUI offenders are a unique justice-involved population that lack many of the criminogenic factors that are used to determine risk (e.g., extensive criminal history) and simultaneously have many protective or pro-social factors that many types of offenders lack.
The goals of the IDA are four-fold. First, the tool is meant to provide guidelines for identifying effective interventions and supervision approaches that reduce the risk of negative outcomes in treatment and community supervision. Second, IDA is designed to provide preliminary guidelines for service needs for DUI clients. Third, the tool can estimate the level of responsivity of clients to supervision and to DUI and alcohol/drug education and treatment services. Lastly, IDA can assist community corrections officers in identifying the degree to which the client’s DUI has jeopardized traffic safety and to address this in the supervision plan. The instrument was piloted by four adult probation departments in large jurisdictions and a sample of 948 DUI probationers were used to validate the tool.
IDA is currently available in paper-and-pencil format and consists of two components: a self-report section that consists of 34 questions that the offender must complete, and an evaluator section comprising 11 questions that the probation officer must fill out. The self-report questions address mental health and mood adjustment, alcohol and other drug involvement and disruption, social and legal non-conformity, and acknowledgement of problem behaviors and motivation to seek help for these problems. The evaluator report focuses on past DUI and non-DUI involvement in the criminal justice system, prior education and treatment episodes, past response to DUI education and/or treatment, and current supervision and services status. The combined results of both the self-report and evaluator report questions produces a DUI-risk supervision estimate. The IDA should be used to develop an accurate risk score for impaired driving clients and identify those individuals with substance use or psychosocial issues that require more in-depth assessment.
Practitioners must be trained to use the IDA and an online training module is now available. The tool is available free of cost and online training can be accessed here. For more information about the development of the IDA, refer to the following NHTSA study.
Contact: Mark Stodola (Probation Fellow, American Probation and Parole Association); [email protected]
Court & Supervision Programs
Research has shown that the traditional DUI court model is effective in reducing recidivism (both of DUIs and crime more broadly) and taxpayer costs due to positive outcomes for court participants, including fewer re-arrests and less time incarcerated. Unfortunately, these programs have traditionally accommodated a small number of offenders (usually about 50 but no more than 125 at any given time). In San Joaquin County, California this model has been modified to take a more global approach to the problem. The rationale behind the creation of Judge Richard Vlavianos’ program was that more high-risk offenders should be served in order to maximize benefits and cost-savings.
In 2008, San Joaquin County implemented a system change that required all repeat DUI offenders in the largest judicial district (mainly the City of Stockton) to participate in the DUI Monitoring Court program. This particular court does not follow all tenants of the traditional drug/DUI court model for all participants. Instead, through risk and needs triage, offenders are separated into tracks based on whether they require intensive interventions. The reality is that many repeat DUI offenders in this program are not dependent on alcohol or drugs (although they do abuse substances) and therefore, do not need the high level of supervision and treatment that would be appropriate for high-risk/high need offenders. To accommodate a much larger volume of participants, the court operates two separate tracks: Track 1 is the “monitoring track” where participants are required to come to court infrequently to report on progress in completing the terms of their probation, including DMV requirements to qualify to get their license reinstated. Track 2 is for participants who demonstrate that they are unable to comply with Track 1 requirements or are assessed as needing substance and/or mental health treatment. Track 2 follows the DUI Court model more closely.
Upon intake, each individual referred to the DUI court is screened using the DUI-RANT and American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) evidence-based tools. The outcomes of these risk/needs assessments determine track assignment. Licensed substance abuse counselors serve as compliance officers/case managers and are responsible for conducting intake interviews, obtaining client background information, and administering assessments. In addition to conducting assessments using the aforementioned instruments, case managers utilize CARS among all treatment track participants to identify substance use and mental health disorders and facilitate targeted referrals to treatment. The court was one of the earliest adopters of CARS and continues to utilize the instrument.
The program was established through grant funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and continues to receive support due to its documented success in reducing recidivism among participants.
Results of a 2012 NPC Research evaluation (Carey et al.) revealed that fewer participants were re-arrested in the 18 months after their eligible DUI than those on traditional probation; less than half as many court participants were involved in crashes, including those related to DUI/ DUID, compared to those on traditional probation; court participants were much more likely to comply with court, probation, and DMV requirements; and, court participants were significantly more likely to regain their driver’s licenses upon completion of the program. A new study is currently underway that will include a cost-benefit analysis.
Through risk triage, Judge Vlavianos is able to supervise more than 500 DUI offenders annually. Data from his court reveals that slightly more than 30% of his participants are high-risk/high needs and the remainder require far less resources to effectively monitor. In the decade that the program has been in operation, San Joaquin County has gone from one of the worst counties in the state for DUI fatalities to the 4th best. Moreover, in the decade since the court’s inception, they have served over 4,000 clients which translates into 440% greater impact when compared to a traditional DUI Court. As a result of this track record of success, Judge Vlavianos’ court has been recognized nationally and received multiple awards. The hope is that this model can be replicated in other California counties and other states that are interested in taking the DUI court model to scale.
Contact: Judge Richard Vlavianos (Superior Court of San Joaquin County); [email protected]
The Athens-Clarke County DUI/Drug Court was established in 2001 under the leadership of Judge Kent Lawrence (Ret). At the time of its inception, the court received grant funding from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and was endorsed by the Solicitor-General. The Athens DUI Court has been designated as an Academy Court by the National Center for DWI Courts on four separate occasions due to its exemplary programming and fidelity to the Ten Guiding Principles. The court is currently presided over by Judge Charles Auslander who is responsible for overseeing the multidisciplinary court team. The stated mission of the court is to provide early intervention for repeat alcohol and drug offenders which includes enhanced community and legal supervision, substance abuse treatment, and continuing community support. The team endeavors to “instill hope and improve the quality of our participants’ lives while increasing community and reducing DUI recidivism.”
While grant funds have helped sustain the court over the years, one unique element of this program is that the court obtained 501(c)(3) to pursue additional funding opportunities. This has made the court less dependent upon government funding. The court has also built partnerships with a number of community organizations such as the University of Georgia and other local entities to provide drug and alcohol testing services that help offset DUI court program costs. Many of these partners also employ court participants to help them integrate back into the community and promote sobriety.
Like most DUI courts, the Athens DUI Court is a post-conviction program that focuses on accountability and behavior change through intensive supervision and treatment. Participation in the program is for a minimum of 14 months; during this time, participants must progress through a number of phases and demonstrate progress and behavior change in order to be eligible for graduation. Maximum capacity for the program is 120 participants and eligible individuals are those who have two DUI arrests within five years or three or more DUI arrests within a lifetime. The court also takes into consideration the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest and past history with alcohol/drug use and justice system involvement. To facilitate early entry into the program, repeat DUI offender cases are placed on a specialized arraignment calendar within 10-17 days after arrest where they are reviewed to determine whether the individual is eligible for court participation.
In recent years, the Athens DUI Court has expanded access to treatment and focused on providing clients with services that better meet their individual needs. This includes gender-specific programming and trauma-informed care. Once clients progress through all phases of court programming and have demonstrated sobriety through at least 120 days of negative test results, the team meets to determine if they are eligible for graduation. Court participants are encouraged to maintain their relationship with the DUI court after graduation as alumni or by serving as a mentor to other participants.
Contact: Lee Rushton (Court Coordinator, Athens-Clarke County DUI/Drug Court) [email protected]
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has undertaken concerted efforts to reach out to judges and to the public through its Impaired Driving Division. Judges, particularly those who work in the limited jurisdiction courts of our states, counties and municipalities, are often overlooked in education and communication opportunities. They often lack the ability to gain and to share the knowledge needed to resolve the legal and evidentiary issues that challenge them daily in adjudicating impaired driving and other motor vehicle-related cases.
The ABA Judicial Division and NHTSA have forged a partnership to reach out to these judges. Through the Judicial Fellow program and the Judicial Outreach Liaison program, we have worked to develop a more thorough public understanding of traffic safety issues and the adjudication of motor vehicle cases. Through these programs, NHTSA and the Judicial Division can focus their outreach efforts on highway safety topics to target one or more regions of the country.
The ABA Judicial Division has selected judges from different areas across the country to act as Judicial Outreach Liaisons. These Liaisons function as teachers, writers, consultants, and liaisons, to share the latest research and best practices on addressing impaired driving offenders with the judges in their regions or States.
Contact: Caroline Cash, NHTSA, [email protected]
The South St. Louis County DWI Court was founded in Duluth, Minnesota in 2008. Judge Shaun Floerke is the presiding judge, and in this role, he has been a leader in promoting wellness and addressing trauma among his participants. Not only has his court been effective in reducing recidivism and accruing cost-savings, the court has proved to be a trial ground for new practices and research. Driven by evidence-based practices and the latest developments within the treatment field, Judge Floerke and his team have modified the framework and practices of the court to address the underlying issues that are common among participants. In addition to focusing on long-term recovery, the South St. Louis County DWI Court makes it standard practice to have participants assessed and treated for co-occurring mental health disorders, provide trauma-informed care, and employ gender-sensitive approaches including separating the court docket by men and women to increase feelings of safety. These are only some of the many reasons why the Duluth court was designated an Academy Court and has received special recognition from the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC).
The South St. Louis DWI Court is one of the few specialty courts that accepts DWI offenders at the pre-trial stage, ensuring that high-risk individuals are subject to interventions as early in the criminal justice process as possible. Always one to push boundaries, Judge Floerke has been on the forefront of treatment courts embracing wellness as a core component in recovery. His court has been involved in several important research studies including a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) pilot (detailed here). His probation department was also involved in the Responsibility.org CARS implementation pilots in 2016 and his court has been nationally recognized for its success.
Judge Floerke’s court was one of the first to incorporate yoga therapy to assist in addiction recovery. Participating in yoga requires individuals to be mindful and present and this can be an important skill for those who have difficulty coping with stressful situations. Through yoga classes, court participants develop skills that help them deal with daily functioning and stressors that trigger feelings of anxiety and the desire to use substances. In addition to yoga, court participants learn meditation, breath work, and relaxation techniques. The yoga classes are segregated by gender to create a safe environment and members of the court team, including Judge Floerke, often participate alongside their clients. Judge Floerke stresses the importance of compassion in working with clients who have substance use disorders and a history of trauma. In addition to these activities, the court also organizes community events and sober outings for participants to help strengthen bonds with family, friends, and members of the community while also promoting recovery and a healthy lifestyle.
Contact: Judge Shaun Floerke (District Court Judge, Sixth Judicial District of Minnesota); [email protected]
Staggered sentencing is an innovative approach to the adjudication and management of DUI offenders. Developed by Judge James Dehn in Isanti County, Minnesota, this sentencing model is similar to DUI Courts as it is an intensive and rehabilitative post-conviction approach targeted towards repeat offenders. The program relies on increased court involvement in offender supervision, accountability, and treatment to reduce recidivism and create positive long-term behavior change.
In contrast to the traditional approach to punishment, a staggered sentence involves a convicted DUI offender serving a portion of his/her required period of incarceration followed by appearances before a judge for assessment of progress. Staggered sentencing divides a standard jail sentence or home electronic alcohol monitoring sanction into three segments. The offender has the burden of proof to show compliance with the agreed upon conditions at the end of each segment served.
If the offender is in compliance with the conditions imposed by the court, he/she is permitted to serve the remainder of the sentence in the community as opposed to in a correctional facility. Instances of noncompliance or violation of conditions results in the imposition of the full period of incarceration. For example, if an offender is arrested for another impaired driving offense, the remainder of the sentence is imposed, and the period of incarceration must be served. A staggered sentencing program is a viable option for jurisdictions that lack the resources to establish a DUI Court or do not have buy-in from all stakeholders needed to establish a specialty court (e.g., prosecutors, community supervision, etc.). The staggered sentencing program is led by the judge and accrues both direct and indirect cost-savings through reductions in DUI recidivism. Moreover, through the reduction in jail time, the burden is lessened on both local and state correctional budgets.
The staggered sentencing model has been studied and revealed promising results. In 2003, the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department (Cleary, 2003) conducted a preliminary evaluation of the staggered sentencing practice. Key findings included:
- Reduced recidivism: Offenders given staggered sentences experienced almost 50% less recidivism than would otherwise be expected based on statewide recidivism rates for comparable DUI offenders at the same time.
- Reduced jail time: The program results in 66% less incarceration time (average of 52 days) for offenders that successfully comply with their conditions.
- Considerable cost-savings: Under staggered sentencing an average of 78 days of executed jail time, or 52 days after deducting for good-time earned, are saved. At the approximate per diem jail cost of $60/day, the 52 days saved translates to a direct jail cost savings of over $3,000 per successful offender on the current DUI offense.
In an evaluation of intensive supervision programs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that staggered sentencing participants had a 30.6% lower recidivism rate than comparison communities over a four-year post-offense timeframe (Wiliszowski et al., 2011). Estimates indicate that the program prevented 15 to 23 re-arrests for DUI which is substantial due to the small number of offenders included in the analysis (n=200).
Contact: Judge James Dehn (Ret).; [email protected]
The Sobriety, Treatment, Education, Excellence and Rehabilitation (STEER) Court is Judge Mary Jane Knisely’s DWI Academy Court located in Billings, Montana. Established in 2011, the mission of the Yellowstone County STEER Court is to increase public safety and increase awareness of public safety issues in the community regarding alcohol-related crimes. Reducing alcohol and drug abuse among non-violent adult DUI offenders is key to the program and is accomplished through appropriately matched evidence-based treatment, along with educational, vocational, medical, mental health, and appropriate services to help establish and support long-term prosocial behaviors.
STEER is designed to facilitate the rehabilitation of adults accused or convicted of felony or serious misdemeanor alcohol-related traffic offenses. All participants will have offenses which, in their totality, provide STEER at least 12 months of jurisdiction, but optimally have a minimum of 18-24 months of jurisdiction. Clients are carefully screened and must meet stringent eligibility criteria. In addition to focusing on accountability, the court also directs its efforts toward changing offender behavior, addressing transportation and licensing issues, and focusing on the rights of DUI victims.
As many of the court’s participants reside in rural jurisdictions, the court has had to overcome barriers related to lack of access to transportation, community services, and treatment options. Judge Knisely’s court has opted to utilize technology to facilitate case management including a web-based tracking system, video teleconferencing/polycom appearances for court hearings, and tablet/smart phone applications to simplify monitoring and treatment. In rural states, the reliance on technology in the courtroom ensures that clients do not always have to travel lengthy distances and that each case is efficiently tracked to prevent gaps in accountability.
Even though rural jurisdictions do not always have a diverse range of treatment options available, the STEER Court ensures that participants have access to both gender-specific and culturally-appropriate interventions which have shown to improve outcomes over generic programming. The court provides access to traditional ancillary services such as sober housing, vocational training, and parenting classes but has recently added yoga and art therapy. These classes are designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for both men and women (the programming is gender-specific) to focus on their recovery and healing from past trauma that is directly tied to substance abuse. These activities are also designed to provide court participants with a creative outlet to explore various aspects of their recovery and a prosocial way to occupy leisure time and build relationships. Furthermore, engagement in yoga and art therapy was conceptualized as an opportunity to build self-esteem and relieve stress in a healthy manner. A more recent edition to both the STEER Court and Judge Knisely’s veteran’s treatment court is equine therapy. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is extremely common among justice-involved veterans and it is also one of the most commonly identified mental health disorders among impaired drivers. The equine program requires participants to work with and train horses to cope with and manage PTSD symptoms. While a newer program, there is research to support equine therapy among veteran and prison populations. In fact, several correctional facilities throughout the country have horse training programs for inmates.
Contact: Judge Mary Jane Knisely (District Court Judge, 13th Judicial District of Montana); [email protected]
An example of robust screening and assessment at the pretrial phase can be found in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. The Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs (LSODAP) was established in 2010-2011 and provides comprehensive prevention, intervention, and treatment services to clients who are involved with the criminal justice system. Through the management of a network of contracted treatment providers, a continuum of care ranging from outpatient counseling to inpatient rehabilitation and case management is offered to individuals in need of substance use and mental health interventions. LSODAP maintains a list of behavioral health providers who offer treatment services within the county and updates this list on a regular basis as the provider network expands and/or the services that are offered change over time.
In addition to facilitating connections with treatment providers, LSODAP serves as the lead agency responsible for the planning, implementation, and support of the county’s treatment courts. Each individual charged with impaired driving in Pennsylvania is required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation called the Court Reporting Network (CRN) at the pre-trial stage of the criminal justice process. Based on the outcomes of the evaluation, the state may require the completion of a more comprehensive assessment. In addition to the CRN, LSODAP case managers utilize the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS). Initially selected to serve as a CARS pilot site in the summer of 2016, the agency was interested in learning more about the mental health needs of the impaired driver population. As part of participation in the pilot, case managers agreed to utilize all three versions of CARS (both screeners and the full assessment) for a duration of three months. Completion of the screening or assessment of these clients was coordinated through the County DUI Coordinator and Case Management Supervisor at the Lackawanna County Pretrial Unit utilizing existing referral protocols; clients agreed to complete the assessment process on a voluntary basis. Given the level of general satisfaction with the performance of the tool as well as the identified value of being able to accurately identify client mental health needs, the agency opted to continue to utilize the instrument following the end of the pilot project. Other jurisdictions should consider integrating screening and assessment practices comparable to this process as a means to identify DUI defendants’ behavioral health needs early within the criminal process and facilitate targeted referrals to community treatment entities.
Contact: Rene Esgro (Case Management Supervisor, LSODAP); [email protected]
The first 24/7 Sobriety Program was established in South Dakota in 2004 and was implemented statewide by 2017. This program is designed to intensively supervise high-risk impaired drivers and other offenders whose criminal behavior is related to substance abuse. The 24/7 model requires participants who are arrested or convicted of alcohol-involved offenses to submit to twice-daily breathalyzer tests or continuous alcohol monitoring. This program requires that participants remain abstinent for the duration of the program, hence the term “24/7.”
24/7 is an accountability-based program which imposes immediate, yet modest sanctions to deter problem drinking and change behavior through maintaining sobriety. The program focuses on the principles of deterrence, primarily swift, certain, and proportionate sanctions, to change behavior. These programs tend to be implemented in states with large rural populations (e.g., AK, ND, SD, MT, WA, WY) and the agency responsible for administering the program is often the local Sheriff’s office. The benefit of having law enforcement oversee the program is that when participants fail tests, they can be immediately taken into custody ensuring that the sanction for non-compliance is swift and certain. In addition to twice-daily breath tests and transdermal alcohol monitoring, drug patches and random urinalyses (UAs) are also utilized to monitor drug use. All 24/7 programs rely on an offender pay model to cover fees associated with monitoring and testing.
Placement in the 24/7 Sobriety Program has been a prerequisite for condition of bond, probation, driver’s license reinstatement, state corrections and parole services, and family court. While repeat DUI offenders are the target population of the program, jurisdictions have explored possible expansion to include high-BAC first-time offenders (although these individuals would voluntarily opt into the program). Some jurisdictions also allow offenders whose crimes were tied to substance abuse (e.g., domestic violence, assault, etc.) to participate. Offenders that refuse to participate in the program serve a period of incarceration instead.
Ongoing evaluations of the South Dakota program by researchers at RAND have revealed promising results. Participation in 24/7 was associated with a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests and a 9% reduction in domestic violence arrests at the county level (Kilmer, 2013). There is also suggestive evidence that crashes among males age 18-40 fell as a result of the program (Kilmer, 2013). A more recent study has shown that 24/7 program participation had a large effect on criminal behavior. Kilmer and Midgette (2018) estimated that the probability of a 24/7 participant being re-arrested or having his/her probation revoked 12 months after being arrested for DUI was 49% lower than that of non-participants.
One potential area for improvement is the integration of an assessment component and treatment referrals. Currently, 24/7 focuses solely on monitoring and accountability. The concern is that this is not enough to address significant substance use and/or mental health issues. As such, it would be beneficial to identify whether all prospective participants could feasibly be screened/assessed prior to program entry and for those who met diagnostic criteria referrals are made to participate in treatment while also being intensively monitored for substance use. This would create a safety net in the event that relapse occurs.
Contact: Byron Nogelmeier (South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program State Coordinator); [email protected].sd.us
The El Paso DWI Court was established in 2004 under the leadership of Judge Robert Anchondo. The mission of the court is to reduce recidivism and alcohol and drug offenders and to enhance public safety through a cost-effective and integrated continuum of care that is overseen by the court team. As the first treatment court in the region dedicated to DWI offenses, the team focuses on improving the delivery of services while promoting accountability and behavior change. Like his colleagues, Judge Anchondo is constantly identifying ways to strengthen his court structure and integrate new services to improve client outcomes. In addition to establishing multiple partnerships with community agencies and academic institutions, Judge Anchondo has also been instrumental in enhancing the continuum of services available to impaired drivers within his county, including those offenders who do not qualify for his treatment court. Recently, Judge Anchondo led an effort to expand pretrial services with a focus on making more interventions available to impaired driving defendants. He brought in national experts to make the case to community leaders regarding how building up services at the pretrial phase could improve overall system outcomes.
Judge Anchondo is always looking for innovative approaches to better serve their clients and is at the forefront of adapting the model to address the unique needs of his population in south Texas. Unlike other Academy Courts, much of Judge Anchondo’s participants are of Hispanic heritage/descent and, as such, require services provided in Spanish. His desire to address this issue led him to facilitate the translation of the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) screeners into Spanish to ensure that the substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders that are common among impaired drivers are captured among those who do not speak English. His court will be the first in the nation to utilize the Spanish versions of the instrument in 2020.
In addition to taking a culturally-sensitive approach when assessing, supervising, and treating clients, the El Paso DWI Court has also been a leader in integrating families into the treatment court process. Judge Anchondo encourages family members to attend court and participate in activities to not only support participant recovery but to foster greater understanding regarding risk factors and ways to safeguard against relapse. Family members can be supportive of progress and promote accountability; by re-establishing family ties and relationships, the DWI court is simultaneously strengthening communities. Therefore, family counseling is often a component of individual treatment plans.
Contact: Judge Robert Anchondo (El Paso DWI-Drug Court) [email protected]
In addition to these resources Judge Knisley, in partnership with local law enforcement leaders, has included a DRE/K9 officer to the Court. They have been presented with unique opportunities and perspectives to provide to the clients, prosecutors, and staff members. As this Court focuses on addiction related or driving offenses, having an elevated level of education about impairment and an ability to investigate it by a certified DRE through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], ensures that the officer has the ability to observe the client for impairment indicators, potentially hear statements cueing them in to potential violations of substance abuse by clients, and a general overall knowledge of what dedicated substance abuse behavior is, to ensure compliance with the Court orders in ways that a chemical test or other staff member may not recognize. As a clinician will be able to hear or see subtle speech or behavior patterns that give them information about the mental or physical health of their client, the DRE Officer can similarly pick up clues about the client using their training and skills.
The K9 Officer provides a similar experience of observing substance abuse in individuals from the perspective of making a possession case. The statements, mannerisms, physical observations, all play a role in the K9 Officer furthering an investigation to recover contraband from the person or property with which they are interacting. This experience lends itself to the Court as the officer participates in the meetings, home inspections, or public interaction with the clients. The K9 Officer frequently interacts with multiple specialty units including Federal, State, County, and Local law enforcement giving them access to greater information levels that have often resulted in clients being directly, or peripherally, involved in investigations resulting in needed action from the Court.
Contact: Officer David Firebaugh Billings Police Department - K9 Patrol (406) 698-4267 [email protected]
Treatment Programs & Interventions
Colorado is one state that has been a leader in the specialty court and treatment spheres and has arguably established one of the most robust treatment frameworks for repeat impaired drivers in the country. In Colorado, different levels of treatment are required based on identified clinical severity indicators. The number of prior DUI offenses on an individual’s record are also considered when making placement recommendations. A variety of treatment levels are available to DUI offenders and the entire treatment framework is regulated by the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) which requires evidence-based practices to be used for both assessment and treatment. Traditionally, DUI services fell into two primary levels and placement was largely a function of the outcomes of a comprehensive clinical assessment performed by providers. Level I and Level II DUI education and therapy ranged from 12-24 hours of education and 42-86 hours of treatment over a 5 to 10-month period. The treatment intensity for these program options is based on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) levels of care.
OBH recognized that the existing treatment framework may not be adequate for repeat DUI offenders as research began to reveal that these offenders present with unique treatment needs. As such, OBH began to evaluate whether a more in-depth clinical assessment should be required for this offender population and if the nature of treatment services offered should be expanded to be even more comprehensive. The passage of HB 15-1043 in 2015 which designated fourth and subsequent DUI convictions as felonies presented an opportunity to modify the existing treatment framework and develop new requirements for services for this high-risk offender group.
The Level II 4+ treatment program (signifying that the population targeted by the program are fourth and subsequent offenders) was developed by an interagency workgroup of the Colorado Task Force on Drunk & Impaired Driving in response to the passage of felony DUI legislation; the program became effective in July, 2017. OBH was designated with the authority to create the program and promulgate rules and requirements for the program. Clients are typically referred to the program via the courts or probation although they can seek voluntary admittance. Clients who enter the program must complete a minimum of 180 clinical contact hours over a minimum of 18 months and demonstrate that they have adopted and utilized core competencies. Level II 4+ consists of a combination of education and treatment strategies that are determined by the results of screening and clinical assessment. All treatment decisions are based on the results of the clinical assessment and clients are subject to mandatory alcohol and drug testing to monitor substance use.
When developing the program rules, OBH staff wanted to ensure that the language was specific enough to direct providers to the use of appropriate assessment instruments. Due to the recognition that the repeat DUI offenders have high rates of co-occurring mental health disorders and that generic assessment instruments are inadequate for accurately assessing risk and needs among this population, providers are required to use tools that meet specific criteria. The language contained in Level II 4+ rules states that “agencies shall utilize an assessment tool specifically designed to address co-occurring mental health issues in the impaired driver population.” There are additional assessment provisions, but the preceding language essentially requires that treatment providers seeking certification to serve Level II 4+ clients must use the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) as this is the only validated tool that meets these criteria. Since the launch of the program in the summer of 2017, there is near statewide coverage of service providers. Through Level II 4+, Colorado became the first state to integrate CARS within a large system and require providers to receive training on the administration of the tool (this was provided by Cambridge Health Alliance staff to approx. 200 providers in August 2017).
Other states are encouraged to follow Colorado’s example and consider requiring mandatory assessment. The language used in the Level II 4+ rules can be replicated in statute or rules in other jurisdictions to guide practitioners in selecting the most appropriate screening and assessment instruments for the impaired driving population and, specifically, high-risk and repeat impaired drivers. The addition of treatment programming that focuses on comprehensively addressing substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and trauma among these offenders is an important development that will likely lead to reductions in the number of first offenders who return to the system and reductions in recidivism among high-risk populations who may not have had adequate assessment and treatment in the past.
Contact: Webster Hendricks (Manager, DUI Services Program at the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health); [email protected]
Interlock Enhancement Counseling (IEC) combines ignition interlock monitoring with engagement in treatment interventions. One of the limitations of interlock technology is that the device in and of itself cannot change behavior of individuals who suffer from substance use disorders. While the device can separate drinking from driving and incapacitate offenders, failure to address the underlying substance abuse increases the likelihood of recidivism when the interlock is removed. To address this identified shortcoming and to maximize the benefits of the technology, IEC was created to supply treatment practitioners with valuable interlock data and ensure that offenders are able to address their substance dependence while the interlock is installed and protects the public should relapse occur.
IEC is a comprehensive program based on motivational interviewing and a cognitive behavioral approach that differs from common approaches to DUI education. IEC focuses on interlock performance and teaches offenders to identify high-risk events and change their anti-social behavior (which places them at risk for recidivism). The IEC protocol has both individual and group sessions. The total length of the program is 10 hours conducted over a five-month period. There are four, 30-minute sessions conducted once monthly for a period of three months. The fourth and final session is conducted in month five. There are four, two-hour group sessions that are conducted once monthly for four months. IEC could be considered to fulfill a portion of the offender’s long-term hourly treatment requirements that are a condition of relicensing. The program procedures are standardized and are in the form of a manual to assure all topics, exercises, and worksheets are being presented consistently, as well as helping providers demonstrate fidelity to the model. Two manuals were developed for the IEC program including a guide for providers and a participant workbook. Session topics for both individual and group sessions include being successful on the interlock; learning and changing; managing high-risk situations; maintaining success while on the interlock, etc.
The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are both actively involved in IEC development. IEC can be taken along with participation in traditional DUI treatment programming or can be delivered separately. In Colorado, treatment agencies screen all DUI/DWAI offenders to determine interlock requirements and clients who have an interlock-restricted driver’s license are encouraged to participate in IEC. If the offender meets admission criteria, releases of information required by law and rules are obtained and a differential assessment is performed, if needed. The generic admission criteria for participation in IEC include meeting all legal and jurisdictional requirements, agreeing to complete a differential assessment, signing required forms including consent to treatment and releases of information, providing proof of interlock installation, and agreeing to follow all program rules including completion of written exercises in the IEC Participants Workbook. To successfully finish the program, participants must IEC complete ten hours of programming, complete all worksheets, have no further DUI/DWAI arrests while in the program, and have no driver license actions related to interlock use (e.g., no failed start attempts, failed rolling retest, and no evidence of tampering or circumvention).
Contact: Webster Hendricks (Manager, DUI Services Program at the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health); [email protected]
Impaired Driving Task Forces, Commissions, and Councils
Oregon’s impaired driving task force was established via Executive Order No. EO-83-20 on December 13, 1983. The Advisory Committee is responsible for identifying challenges and issues within the state’s DUII system and advising the Governor and other relevant agencies on strategies and options available to address the aforementioned challenges in order to reduce the incidence of impaired driving in the state. Each year, the Committee assists in the formulation of both administrative and legislative goals for reducing impaired driving and monitors the implementation and outcomes of various programs and policies. Further objectives of the Committee include:
- Heighten public awareness of the seriousness of DUII;
- Assist in the effort to end the impaired driving problem in an organized and systematic manner;
- Generate public support for increased enforcement of state and local DUII laws; and,
- Educate the public about the dangers of impaired drivers.
One of the strengths of the Committee is that it contains members who represent a diverse range of interests and agencies/organizations which ensures that a variety of perspectives inform decision-making. Committee membership is by executive appointment and includes individuals from backgrounds including but not limited to law enforcement, prosecution, the judiciary, treatment, licensing, prevention, education, victim advocacy, etc. Meetings are held on a monthly basis and agendas as well as meeting minutes are publicly accessible online to allow for maximum transparency; members of the public are also encouraged to attend these meetings to offer input. In addition to Committee membership, agency liaisons from both federal and state agencies/organizations can also be approved by the Committee.
Over the years, the GAC-DUII has identified some key strategies to help address the impaired driving issues in Oregon. These strategies have become part of Oregon’s Impaired Driving Strategic Plan and include: DUII prevention, an annual multi-disciplinary training task force conference, increased education and training, increased high visibility enforcement, closing legislative loopholes and offering resources and technical assistance to the Governor’s Office and/or legislators, increased DUII adjudication efforts, increased prevention communications, promoting community and transportation safety, supporting DUII treatment and rehabilitation programs, and promoting data collection and evaluation of DUII programs.
For more information, visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Safety/Pages/GAC-DUII.aspx
Contact: Chuck Hayes (Chair, GAC-DUII & DEC Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police); [email protected]
The Washington State Tribal Traffic Safety Advisory Board (TTSAB) is a dedicated group of safety professionals, council and tribal members focusing on tribal traffic safety. In Washington, American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AIAN) are overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes compared to other races, especially involving high-risk behaviors. For example, AIAN, have an impaired driving fatality rate six times greater, speed four times greater, and unrestrained occupants eight times greater than other races combined, per 100,000 population.
In 2009, the TTSAB was created through an agreement with the state entitled the Centennial Accord (https://goia.wa.gov/govtogov/pdf/2014_WA_Traffic_Safety_Commission_Centennial_Accord_Plan.pdf).
The state of Washington and tribes have formally committed to working together on a government-to-government basis to address several common problems, to include traffic safety and transportation issues (meeting minutes https://wtsc.wa.gov/meetings-and-events/ttsab-meetings/). The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) manages the TTSAB in conjunction with a representative from the 29 federally recognized tribes. Membership consists of tribal leaders, planners, law enforcement, and representatives from the WTSC and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The board meets every other month to discuss tribal traffic safety concerns and partnership opportunities, data gaps and limitations and to set priorities and implement projects identified through its strategic plan (see: https://targetzero.com/ pp. 15-27).
The TTSAB created two major videos, “Traffic Safety Successes on the Coleville Reservation'' and “Protecting Our Future.” The also created culturally relevant materials utilizing tribal members and tribal motifs to represent the tribal lifestyle and culture. This included topic specific videos, rack cards, brochures, and educational materials to address high-risk behaviors and unrestrained occupants (https://wtsc.wa.gov/programs-priorities/tribes/).
In addition to these creatives, the formation of Tribal Traffic Safety Coordinators has been a highly successful program for tribes. These positions were an identified need through research conducted by Eastern Washington University. These coordinators update and map tribal roadways identifying collision hotspots, asses the top collision causing violations, provide culturally relevant education and materials to tribal members, schools, youth groups, present evidence-based practices to the business council, seek funding for traffic safety priorities, High-Risk Impaired Drivers, organize high-visibility enforcement campaigns, coordinate with local law enforcement agencies, conduct road safety audits, and addressing any identified gaps in tribal traffic safety.
Tribes play a critical role in traffic safety outcomes and can be an active partner with other agencies in addressing the goals identified in the states Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) or Annual Highway Safety Plans. In Washington, Tribal members served on the Project Team and Target Zero Steering Committee for the 2019-2021 SHSP developing and writing the content of the Tribes and Target Zero chapter.
For more information contact information: Scott Waller, TTSAB Program Manager [email protected] (360) 725-9885 – Desk (360) 522-0610 – Cell
Source: Tribal Traffic Safety Advisory Board https://wtsc.wa.gov/programs-priorities/tribes/
Washington State Strategic Highway Safety Plan 2019-2021 https://targetzero.com/