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Frequent Alcohol Testing Linked to Reduction in Repeated DUI Arrests

May 06, 2020

A statewide alcohol-monitoring program that requires South Dakota individuals who have faced multiple drunk driving charges to be tested frequently for alcohol use has been linked to a reduction in recidivism, according to research published this week by the RAND Corporation. The study was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program is a public safety initiative that incorporates frequent alcohol testing and swift, but modest penalties for participants who test positive or miss a test. A night or two in jail is a typical penalty.

Among individuals who had been arrested on DUI charges two or three times, 24/7 program participants were 50% less likely to be rearrested or have their probation revoked within the following year vs. individuals not in the program.

The RAND study was based on information from 16,513 individuals arrested on drunk driving charges two or three times between 2004 and 2012. Overall, more than 30,000 South Dakota residents participated in the program through early 2017.

Greg Midgette, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland and an adjunct researcher at RAND, said in a news release that the 24/7 program could have an impact beyond reducing intoxicated driving.

“This study focuses on DUI participants, but the program’s impact may be much broader,” Midgette, the study’s co-author, said. “There are many other kinds of crime, and aspects of life, that may be positively affected by less heavy drinking.”

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