The impact of alcohol ignition interlocks on a group of recidivist offenders: A case-study approach
Freeman, James E., Sheehan, Mary C., & Schonfeld, Cynthia C. (2007) The impact of alcohol ignition interlocks on a group of recidivist offenders: A case-study approach. In International Conference on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety (T2007), 26-30 August 2007, Seattle, USA.
OBJECTIVE: The paper reports on a longitudinal study that focused on both quantitative and qualitative data to examine the impact of alcohol ignition interlocks on a group of recidivist drink drivers from a users’ perspective.
DESIGN AND METHODS: The study utilised a case-study approach to investigate 12 participants’ self-reported perceptions and experiences of using an interlock and the effect that the device had on key program outcomes such as drinking levels, operational performance, circumvention attempts and general beliefs regarding the effectiveness of the device in comparison to traditional legal sanctions.
RESULTS: Participants reported positive appraisals regarding the effectiveness of the device as qualitative themes emerged concerning the educational and practical benefits of interlocks in comparison to traditional sanctions. However, closer examination of individual interlock performances revealed each participant had attempted to start their vehicle after consuming alcohol, and a smaller sample of three drivers were regularly attempting to start their vehicle after drinking. The combination and analysis of self-reported and downloaded interlock data revealed four main themes: (a) initial operational difficulties, (b) a general unwillingness to reduce alcohol consumption levels, (c) an unwillingness to acknowledge/recognise that interlock breath violations resulted from drinking, and (d) an overall decline in the frequency of interlock breath violations over the interlock installation period. A further notable finding was that half the sample still consumed harmful levels of alcohol upon program completion.
CONCLUSIONS: This paper will further outline the major findings of the program of research and consider treatment implications for individuals who continue to be unwilling to change drinking behaviours.
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