THE PREVENTION PARADOX, TRAFFIC SAFETY, AND DRIVING-WHILE-INTOXICATED TREATMENT

San Juan County, New Mexico established a 28-day jail/treatment program for first-time, driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) offenders in 1994 to reduce both DWI recidivism and alcohol-related crashes. This paper assesses the impact of the program on both outcomes. Driving records of all people arrested for DWI in San Juan County from August 1994 through December 20001 were examined. Subsequent re-arrests and crashes were analyzed to compare people who had been sentenced to the jail/treatment program and those who had not. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used. Covariates included age, gender, blood alcohol content (BAC), number of prior arrests, and ethnicity. Results showed that re-arrest rates were significantly lower for the treatment than the nontreatment group, and that no differences were observed between the three major ethnic groups studied. However, a lower rate of subsequent alcohol-related crashes was not observed for the treatment group, possibly as a result of insufficient numbers. BAC and number of previous arrests were significant risk factors for subsequent crashes, although the vast majority of subsequent alcohol-related crashes occurred among people in the intermediate risk ranges. These results suggest that the jail/treatment program is effective in reducing the probability of DWI re-arrests, but the evidence with respect to crashes is equivocal. That most crashes occur to people in the intermediate risk range exemplifies the prevention paradox, and means that the courts cannot be expected to have a major impact on alcohol-related crashes since they deal most severely with high-risk individuals.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Elsevier

    360 Park Avenue South
    New York, NY  United States  10011-1710
  • Authors:
    • Woodall, W G
    • Kunitz, S J
    • Zhao, H
    • Wheeler, D R
    • Westerberg, V
    • DAVIS, J
  • Publication Date: 2004-8

Language

  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00986677
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 23 2005 12:00AM