A disproportionate number of high-risk drunk drivers, including repeat offenders, are involved in most fatal drunk driving accidents. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recommends an “individualized justice” approach to reduce the risk of high- risk offenders being out on Indiana streets, endangering lives.
There is no denying that there has been a lot of progress made in reducing the number of drunk driving accidents that occur every year. However, the fact is that even though alcohol- impaired deaths are down in number, there are still far too many impaired drivers on our streets causing far too much damage to life and property.
In 2018, drunk driving accident fatalities accounted for just 29 percent of all traffic deaths, the lowest number on toll since 1982. However, even so, there is at least one drunk driving crash fatality occurring every 50 minutes somewhere in the United States. Many of these deaths can be traced to high- risk drivers.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recently released the results of a new study into drunk driving. The report titled “High Risk Impaired Drivers: Combating a Critical Threat,” states that most high-risk drivers include repeat offenders, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of above .15 and drivers with a combination of drugs and alcohol in their system. Repeat drunk driving offenders cause as many as a third of alcohol-impaired accident fatalities annually. Last year, 66 percent of drivers involved in drunk driving accidents were driving with a blood alcohol level of .15 or close to double the legal limit.
The GHSA recommends that we rethink the typical “arrest, convict and punish” approach that is used to deal with high – risk offenders, and look at mental health issues that could underline a deeper, undiagnosed threat. The approach calls for testing drivers not just for alcohol, but also for drugs. It also recommends an individualized approach that will take into consideration the particular circumstances in the case, and prescribe treatment as well as other options, instead of the traditional cookie- cutter, one-size-fits-all approach.