Source: Exigence Group
An alcohol testing program that was implemented six years ago has reduced driving under the influence arrests by more than 10 percent and arrests pertaining to domestic violence by 9 percent in South Dakota, according to a study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health.
The 24/7 Sobriety Project, a statewide anti-alcohol abuse healthcare wellness program, requires those who have been convicted of an alcohol-related crime to either take a breathalyzer test two times a day, or wearing a bracelet that tracks their alcohol consumption. If the breathalyzer tests are skipped or failed, or the bracelet shows that the wearer has engaged in heavy drinking, the individual is sent to jail for one or two days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,000 individuals died in motor vehicle accidents in which intoxicated drivers were involved. This means alcohol was a factor in one-third of all car accident deaths. The agency also reported that intimate partner violence accounted for 10 percent of homicides in the U.S. that same year.
“The South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Project is reducing both repeat DUI and domestic abuse arrests at the county-level,” said lead researcher Beau Kilmer, senior policy researcher at nonprofit research firm RAND. “The results suggest that frequent alcohol testing with swift, certain and modest sanctions for violations can reduce problem drinking and improve public health outcomes.”
More than 17,000 people across South Dakota are taking part in the program – which adds up to 10 percent of men over the age of 18 in certain parts of South Dakota. It has yet to be shown whether the 24/7 Sobriety Project significantly reduces traffic accidents overall, but representatives from the RAND organization still want to investigate whether the initiative can work in other states and in non-rural settings.