Multiple “Lower BAC” offenders: Characteristics and response to remedial interventions

Background: In recent years, there has been increasing attention to “lower BAC” drinking drivers, typically those whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limits defined in criminal law. In 2009, legislation was enacted in Ontario, Canada that enabled police to issue roadside license suspensions to individuals caught driving with BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%, known as the “warn range”. Multiple warn range (MWR) offenders are required to attend the Back on Track (BOT) remedial measures program. This study aimed to provide: (1) a preliminary characterization of MWR drivers charged under warn range legislation; and (2) an initial assessment of outcomes associated with BOT participation among MWR offenders. Methods: A subsample of 727 MWR offenders was drawn from program records, and compared to samples of 3597 first-time Criminal Code (CC) offenders (those caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher) and 359 second-time CC offenders. To provide an initial assessment of outcomes associated with BOT participation, another subsample consisted of 394 MWR participants from whom pre- and post-workshop questionnaires were collected and successfully matched using probabilistic matching processes. Results: Similarities in demographic profile and driving history between MWR and first-time CC participants were apparent. MWR offenders scored higher on risk of problem drinking and drink-driving recidivism than either of the CC offender groups. Second-time CC offenders scored higher on these measures than first-time CC offenders. Following BOT participation, MWR participants demonstrated positive change including improved knowledge of and intentions to avoid drink-driving. Conclusions: MWR offenders share a similar demographic profile to that of first-time CC offenders and they report significantly higher risk of problem drinking and recidivism. MWR offenders may include high-functioning problem drinkers who are likely to continue drink-driving and who may escalate to a CC drink-driving offense. Like CC offenders, MWR offenders benefited from BOT participation.


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  • Accession Number: 01669642
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 19 2018 4:14PM