In 2010, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR) supported a new law enacted by the Michigan Legislature that would allow repeat drunk driving offenders to receive restricted licenses after a 45-day license suspension if they had an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicles, and if they were participants in one of Michigan’s DWI Courts. The restricted licenses allow offenders to drive to and from work in the course of employment, as well as to school, court, probation meetings, treatment, drug and alcohol testing, interlock facilities, and court ordered self-help meetings and others. The law required the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals (MADCP) to undertake an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, which FAAR helped to fund.
Today at a press conference at the State Capitol in Lansing, the MADCP has reported the success of the program in the third and final year to reduce recidivism among repeat drunk driving offenders.
Among its key findings, the study shows:
- Repeat offenders who had an IID installed and also participated in a DWI Court had significantly lower recidivism as compared to offenders who were in a DWI court without the IID requirement, and among offenders on traditional probation.
- Repeat offenders in the program had an IID compliance rate of 98.2%.
- The Program Failure Rate for offenders who installed an IID and participated in the DWI court program was 10%, where the Program Failure Rate for offenders who did not install the IID but participated in the DWI court was 34%.
There is now a waiting list for participation in Michigan’s DWI courts and MADCP is expanding DWI courts across the state to accommodate the increased demand. The MADCP Board has agreed to extend the study for an additional two years to acquire five years of program data that will allow examination of the program’s long-term success in preventive recidivism.
FAAR supports mandatory and effective use of ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders. Effective use of IIDs requires proper assessment and treatment, supervision, and verification of installation for all offenders ordered to install an IID. Ignition interlocks are highly effective for both hardcore drunk drivers and first-time DUI offenders, while they are installed. Interlocks have the most potential to reduce recidivism when coupled with other effective interventions such as assessment and treatment. The technology is reliable and seamless.
FAAR is proud to fund this important study and to work with its pioneer, Judge Harvey Hoffman, ABA/NHTSA Fellow Emeritus. We have featured Judge Hoffman’s court as a Promising Criminal Justice Program for DWI Offenders. For more information and to see the evaluation reports to date, please visit http://responsibility.org/eaton-county-michigan-dwi-court-ignition-interlock-pilot-project.