Research has consistently demonstrated that a significant percentage of DWI offenders is known to be alcohol dependent or to have issues related to alcohol abuse (Baker et al. 2002; Maruschak 1999; Yao, Voas, & Lacey 2018). So, an efficient and effective method is needed to determine the nature and extent of such problems, with referral to effective treatment available for those who need it. Without adequate information to guide decision-making in impaired driving cases, authorities rely solely upon traditional and popular short-term solutions, such as incarceration and the enforcement of probation supervision to address impaired driving. Treatment is a key component in the array of countermeasures needed to deal effectively with convicted impaired drivers. It is estimated that some 44% of the jail population have mental health disorders (Bronson & Berzofsky 2017). Furthermore, 60% of people on probation have alcohol or drug problems (Brooker et al. 2012). Significantly, impaired driving offenders account for almost 14% of the probation population (NSAC 2018). These statistics underscore the fact that approaches to impaired driving that do not address alcohol and other related problems will be limited in their effectiveness.
The purpose of treating DWI offenders is to help alleviate identified problems with substance abuse that they may have or be at risk of developing. Treatment is designed to lessen and prevent negative consequences of substance abuse (e.g., DWI) and, also to support the offender during times of relapse. Additionally, many DWI offenders are also diagnosed with a mental illness. No one treatment approach works for everyone. There are a variety of forms of treatment that can be effective with DWI offenders, including: