Advances in technology present tremendous opportunity to reduce impaired driving but they are underutilized currently. NASID works to raise awareness of these technologies and increase funding available for states to take advantage of these innovative tools.
In most states, DUIs are not classified as felony offenses until the third or fourth conviction. This means that many first and second impaired driving offenders are not subject to active supervision, making it difficult to effectively monitor offenders for compliance. However various technologies can fill that supervision gap and also improve detection of impaired drivers.
Ignition interlocks are the most effective countermeasure to stop drunk driving. These devices are in use in all 50 states and D.C. and are mandatory for use among all DUI offenders in 34 states and D.C. However only about 25 percent of DUI offenders who are required to install ignition interlocks on their vehicles actually do so because DUI offenders are often not supervised after sentencing. There are a variety of strategies that states can use to increase ignition interlock implementation.
Oral Fluid tests are reliable, fast, non-invasive, and able to detect recent (within 24 hours) drug use. These devices can be used at the roadside to identify the presence and category of drugs among impaired drivers.
Ocular data systems and evidence recorders allow law enforcement officers to manually test the eye movements and responses of a subject while directly observing and capturing responses in a ‘live’ video. The subject’s captured responses can be stored and played back as evidence of impairment or for instructor critique in training.
Continuous alcohol monitoring provides 24/7 transdermal alcohol testing for repeat impaired drivers. These systems automatically sample the offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes and encourages accountability and can increase compliance rates with court orders and community safety.
Mobile fingerprinting devices help on-duty police officers verify identities of impaired driving suspects and also allows DUI arrest data to be uploaded to the federal National Crime Information Center database to better identify repeat DUI offenders as they travel between states. Standard arrest protocols often do not include fingerprinting which makes it more difficult to identify repeat DUI offenders.
The DRE Tablet App was developed by the University of Albany Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) to allow law enforcement officers to enter observations and assessments of impaired driving suspects into computer tablets. This electronic process allows data sorting, trend tracking, and informed enforcement efforts.
The DRE tablet app captures all the data required for a Drug Influence Evaluation, and more. The system includes an electronic version of a face sheet, validates data, generates PDF evaluation documents, and uploads all data, including drawings, to a state database. Since the evaluations contain sensitive personal information, data is fully encrypted, and security precautions are in place on both the tablet and the server.
Data collected from the application allows law enforcement agencies to plan their patrols around specific time frames and days of the week when multiple substance and drug-impaired driving violations are most prevalent.
Electronic Warrants (eWarrants) are an important tool to help law enforcement get impaired drivers off the roads. Automated warrant processes give law enforcement a streamlined tool to ensure people who drive impaired are held accountable. For more information and to learn how to set up these systems, click here.
Online Prosecutor Trainings are necessary to help ensure effective prosecution of DUI cases. Many prosecutors who work on DUI cases are fresh out of law school, yet impaired driving cases are the most complex cases to prosecute. Education is needed to provide an in-depth understanding of how to prosecute impaired driving. The National District Attorneys Association has developed an online training that is free and qualifies for CLE training. Learn more here.
Computerized Screening and Assessment programs that are validated specifically among DUI offenders are now available. There are three such programs: The Computerized Assessment and Referral System (free to use), the Impaired Driving Assessment (free to use) and the DUI-RANT Assessment. Traditional screening and assessment tools were not developed for the unique risks and needs among impaired drivers. The result has been that an offender’s risk of recidivism, substance use and mental health disorders and treatment needs have not been accurately identified. It is common for impaired drivers to have undiagnosed and untreated substance use and mental health disorders. Without effective identification of these problems, behavior change is unlikely, and they have a higher risk to become repeat offenders.
Rideshares give people a way to safely travel home after consuming alcohol or drugs. Platforms such as Uber and Lyft are attractive to use, affordable for many and a much safer alternative to driving or walking impaired.