Hardcore Drunk Driving Sourcebook

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This is the third edition of Combating Hardcore Drunk Driving, a sourcebook which was originally produced in 1997 by The National Hardcore Drunk Driver Project andthe first to be available solely online. The Project is an initiative of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Since the last edition was printed in 2003, there has been a proliferation of new research, legislation and programs.

The National Agenda

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To goal of the National Hardcore Drunk Driving Project is to protect the public by reducing the recidivism of hardcore drunk drivers. A coordinated system of mutually reinforcing concepts is necessary to provide the framework needed to close loopholes in existing laws and programs, enact needed legislation, and ensure that the responsible agencies and organizations work together effectively to address the problem. Research shows that a system to deter, detect, punish and change the behavior of hardcore drunk drivers should be based on swift identification, certain punishment and effective treatment. An important factor for success is an accountable statewide planning group or task force, with representatives from pertinent state agencies and interested organizations, to spearhead change and monitor effectiveness.

Acknowledgments

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A number of organizations and individuals assisted with the development of the National Hardcore Drunk Driving Project and all three versions of the Hardcore Drunk Driving Sourcebook. At the core of the most recent edition of the sourcebook is new survey information from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The information was obtained through the offices of the governors' highway safety representatives in each state and The National District Attorneys' Association Traffic Law Center. Without their help and that of the Governors Highway Safety Association, much of he information in this sourcebook would not have been available.

About the Sourcebook

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The Hardcore Drunk Driving Sourcebook is a frequently cited reference and resource for safety advocates and state leaders. The original sourcebook, published in 1997, was the first traffic safety community effort to provide a single, comprehensive resource to assist in reducing fatalities, injuries and crashes caused by repeat offenders and drivers with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .15 and above. The Third Edition of the Sourcebook not only continues this legacy, but chronicles a period which includes extensive new research and significant progress in several of the critical elements of the criminal justice system, as it relates to the Hardcore Drunk Driver.

This 2008 edition includes a review of recent drunk driving research as well as updated information from in-depth surveys of drunk driving strategies, legislation and programs. Guided by the recommendations of a panel of internationally recognized professionals in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, traffic safety, research and treatment, the sourcebook is designed to be an up-to-date, comprehensive resource to assist legislators, highway safety officials, law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, community activists, corrections personnel and treatment professionals in developing programs to reduce hardcore drunk driving.

The Sourcebook contains several key sections:

Hardcore Drunk Drivers and Their Impact

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In 2007, 17,036 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes and 275,000 were injured in the United States (NHTSA 2008). That represents an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 30 minutes and one person injured approximately every two minutes. In addition to injuries and the loss of lives, drunk driving carries a huge economic price tag (Blincoe et al. 2002). This first section of the sourcebook provides a look at hardcore drunk drivers, their impact on society and why the complex problems they present require a coordinated system of countermeasures.

Swift Identification

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Swift identification of hardcore drunk drivers is critical. This identification provides law enforcement officials, the judicial system, corrections officials and treatment professionals with the information needed to determine the nature of the driver's problems so that appropriate actions, in terms of both sanctions and rehabilitation, can be taken. The Swift Identification section addresses the issue of detecting and identifying drivers who are likely to be hardcore drunk drivers. It not only includes identifying these drivers on the highway but also recognizing and acknowledging their hardcore status in the judicial and treatment systems. The section includes enforcement strategies and information on statewide DWI reporting systems (pg. 19) that help provide law enforcement, the judicial system and treatment professionals with the information needed to determine the nature of the driver's history so that appropriate actions, in terms of both sanctions and rehabilitation, can be taken.

Certain Punishment

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In conjunction with swift identification, certain punishment is necessary not only to penalize the hardcore drunk driver, but to deter repeat behavior. Public pressure to deal severely with the problem has resulted in stricter legislation and tougher law enforcement. This section examines sentencing strategies for hardcore drunk drivers and the factors that influence what sentence is imposed. The section also examines both driver- and vehicle-based sanctions for offenders (pg. 60) and looks at methods to prevent or limit the opportunity for the hardcore offender to drive drunk.

Effective Treatment

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Most hardcore drunk drivers have a variety of serious problems, ranging from substance abuse or addiction to violent behavior patterns, and they won't be affected by a solitary driving-related sanction, such as license revocation. Treatment for substance abuse and related problems, along with aftercare, provides a chance for them to address their problems with professional help and guidance. When combined with identification and sanctions, treatment is critical because it helps keep the hardcore drunk driver from repeating the behavior, thereby protecting him or her and also protecting the public.

This section describes the important role of treatment and rehabilitation programs in reducing hardcore drunk driving. Highlighted are some of the more promising programs designed to respond specifically to the hardcore drunk driver. The section details the assessment process for offenders and examines a few of the treatment options available.

Bibliography

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The sourcebook bibliography lists more than 280 sources of information, including books, journals, government reports, scholarly articles, websites, interviews and other resources consulted in the research for this publication.

Moving Forward

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While much progress has been made in the fight against hardcore drunk drivers, more needs to be done. More and more sectors of the community are recognizing that hardcore drunk drivers account for a disproportionate number of alcohol related deaths and injuries — and they are seeking ways to address this persistent problem. This section presents an action plan that should be incorporated into any comprehensive effort to address the problems associated with the hardcore drunk driver.

State Profiles

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State Profiles provide information from in-depth surveys of drunk driving statistics, strategies, programs and laws in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Included is the most current, state-specific information on policies, laws, sanctions and treatment programs that addresses hardcore drunk driving.

Pending Legislation

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The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is actively working with state and Federal legislators to enact strong legislation to effectively deal with hardcore drunk drivers. This list provides a complete listing of legislation we are involved with.