More than 70% of drunk driving deaths in 2010 involved a driver with a BAC of over .15, twice the legal limit.

As shocking as this statistic may be, this isn’t news. Despite a steady drop in drunk driving deaths over the last 20 years, the proportion of deaths caused by hardcore drunk drivers has remained relatively unchanged. Hardcore drunk drivers have proven uniquely resistant to drunk driving prevention, and remain one of the greatest threats on the road today.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has led the efforts to identify, treat, and prosecute these offenders.

To treat address hardcore offenders, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility supports installation of ignition interlocks, and DWI Courts. DWI courts utilize all criminal justice stakeholders (judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation, law enforcement, and others) coupled with alcohol or drug treatment professionals. This group of professionals comprises a “DWI Court Team,” and uses a cooperative approach to systematically change offender behavior. This approach includes identification and referral of participants early in the legal process to a full continuum of drug or alcohol treatment and other rehabilitative treatments.

CARS (Computerized Assessment and Referral System,) a program in development at The Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, with Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility support, will soon offers clinicians a computerized clinical report generator tool for use with a structured diagnostic mental health assessment, effectively bringing comprehensive mental health assessment “from bench to bedside.” This will help identify possible underlying conditions that may contribute to hardcore drunk drivers' behavior. 

Lastly, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole, and treatment providers all play an important role in the swift identification, certain punishment, and effective treatment of the hardcore drunk driver. Through our Hardcore Drunk Driving Judicial Education Project, we promote a multi-disciplinary system-wide approach that aids the entire community in dealing with hardcore drunk drivers.

Through these efforts, we’ve seen progress in the fight against hardcore drunk driving, but as today’s news illustrates, our work is far from done.