DUI Statistics Misleading

An interesting article was posted recently on legalnews.com entitled:  Expert Witness: Little Changes at DAAD Mean a Lot.  The article addresses the new DAAD form to be used for driver license restoration, among other things.  In his article the author, Michael G. Brock, correctly indicates as follows:

In December the DAAD made some subtle changes to their evaluation form that may not seem like a big deal, but might be the difference between a person getting his or her license reinstated and have to wait another year and try again.  The Substance Abuse Evaluation form is now the Substance Use Disorders Evaluation.  Other than the title, the only real change in the form is the order of information requested, and that the relapse history has been replaced by a section titled “Periods of Abstinence” and “Abated by What?”  Meaning the cause of the relapse; i.e., quit going to AA meetings and began hanging around drinking/using friends.

In practice, the biggest changes seem to be that the hearing officers are digging into the appellant’s background more than in the past, and they are interested in any substance the person has ever taken, including those taken for only a brief time recreationally and a long time ago.

However, the author also makes several other observations and conclusions, including:

Some people in this line of work think that the abstinence model has really not been a success and is keeping those who are not yet full-fledged alcoholics from moving on into adulthood by imposing serious penalties on them for youthful indiscretions.

I don’t really see it that way. It seems to me we are catching people earlier in the progression of the disease of addiction than we used to, and, in many cases, preventing them from irreparably damaging their lives and the lives of others. They may go a year or two without driving, but may be spared 20 years of addictive drinking and all the fallout that entails.  And this strict enforcement of the DUI laws has been largely, if not solely, responsible for reducing drunk driving related fatalities by half in the last 27 years.

While I agree with and respect the opinion and much of what the author has stated, I am firm in my conviction that tougher enforcement is NOT responsible for any reduction in either OWI or OWI-related fatalities.

I defy the writer to provide any reasonable statistics to support his claim.  In fact, there are none.  I am also aware of no scientific studies to support the contention that taking away a license from a DUI offender actually increases the likelihood that they will not become or continue to be alcoholics.  If this were true, and it is not, why is this not part of the recognized treatment plan of any hospital treating alcohol and drug dependence and addiction?  Let’s stop repeating the feel-good platitudes and look at real statistics and real science before we misinform the public and add to the already manic anti-drunk driving hysteria.

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