Intervention Method May Help Curb Drunk Driving

Driving while intoxicated is not only illegal, it also puts the life of the driver and everyone else on the road at risk. The biggest problem on the road today is DWI recidivists, or those who re-offend. Many of these individuals fail to participate in mandated alcohol-evaluation and intervention programs or continue to drink problematically after their license has been re-issued.

As this is an ongoing problem, those working against the problem continue to search for a method that is proven effective. According to a recent release in Science Daily, Brief Motivational Interviewing (BMI) proved to be effective.

“Traffic crashes contribute more to morbidity in teenagers and young adults than any other cause, and DWI contributes to about a third of the overall toll,” explained Thomas G. Brown, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and principal investigator for the study.

“In dollar terms on a yearly basis, total estimated loss due to DWI is estimated at five percent of the gross national product of Canada. This is a staggering figure, associated with a huge amount of personal suffering and loss, and is all the more tragic given that DWI is preventable.”

Brown and his colleagues studied 184 male and female recidivists with drinking problems. Half of the group received a 30-minute BMI session, which included a brief but powerful psychosocial intervention where the client was encouraged to review person reasons for change. The other half received a “control” intervention where the client received information about the hazards of excessive drinking

According to Brown: “Our results indicated that BMI, compared to the control procedure, was superior in reducing by around 30 percent the number of risky drinking days for up to a year after receiving the intervention. A risky drinking day is when an individual drank enough on a given day that he or she would probably be impaired if they were to drive shortly after.”

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