Fatal car crashes that involve drunk or impaired drivers continue to be one of the leading causes of death on the nations roadways.
Statistics show that one-third of all fatal crashes involve a person who is under the influence. It’s for that reason, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging State Legislators to consider a ground breaking new program that focuses on reducing those numbers.
It’s called the 24/7 Sobriety Program and it’s a court monitored system that it targets repeat DUI offenders. The program requires that offenders not use any type of alcohol or illegal drugs for an indefinite period of time. As a result they are able to avoid jail time and continue driving. Offenders are heavily monitored during this time. They are required to submit to a breath test two-times per day. They also have to wear an ankle bracelet that that continuously monitors their skin for alcohol.
The bracelet then wirelessly transmits those results to a monitoring center.In addition they have to wear skin patches that can be checked for drug usage. If someone fails any of these test they are immediately taken into custody.
Ed Nolan,Director of Operations at Northwood Health Systems says there are several advantages to the program,”It helps prevent against fatalities, helps protect against repeat driving under the influence, helps individuals avoid jail terms and cuts cost by doing that. It also allows people to stay in their communities, with their families.”
Nolan also says that monitor is most effective when combine with traditional methods of treatment.
“The program traditionally focuses on abstinence only. Nolan said. “When monitoring is combined with treatment, that makes for a more effective program.”
The program has been in place in South Dakota since 2005. Officials there say that in that time fatal accident involving alcohol has decreased thirty percent.