In many states, a person convicted of drunk driving may have to go through impaired driving school which educates the individual on the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Often, the impaired driving school also screens individuals who may have an alcohol or drug dependency and then the program tries to provide help. But, too often the programs are not long enough or are unaffordable for people who really need the assistance. A recent study suggests that many people convicted of DWI have a long history of risky drinking habits and therefore would benefit greatly from a program that would genuinely treat their needs.
The lead author of the study says that a drinking and driving conviction identifies a person at risk. The study undertook and examined interviews with 700 adults who had been convicted of a drunk driving charge. The researchers found that almost half of the adults convicted of DWI had a long history of heavy drinking and that between 20 to 30 percent of the adults who identified as chronic drinkers met the definitions for alcohol or drug dependence or definitions for mental health conditions for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to an interview with Reuters, the study's author said education programs too often undertreat the underlying problems that lead to a drinking and driving conviction. Many people convicted of DWI underestimate their problem and others who want help frequently do not have the money to continue treatment beyond what is required.
The researcher's study asked participants about their lifetime drinking patterns. A man's drinking behavior was identified as risky if he drank five or more drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks per week. A woman's drinking behavior was identified as risky if she drank more than seven drinks per week or four or more drinks in a day.
Source: Reuters, "Drunk Drivers Show Risky Lifetime Drinking Habits," Amy Norton, June 21, 2012