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New program celebrated as repeat DUI breakthrough

A new program that began in South Dakota is making headlines for it's effectiveness when it comes to keeping repeat DUI offenders sober. The program is straightforward and not particularly advanced in a technological sense. But the efficacy of the program has been heralded by many officials and researchers.

The program is called 24/7 Sobriety, and it targets people who have had two or more drunk driving offenses. These people who are in the program are required to check in with a testing facility twice a day -- once in the morning and once in the evening. These tests detect any alcohol in their system, and if they have any in their system, they are immediately sent to jail.

Compared to one of the more common strategies employed after someone is accused of driving under the influence -- ignition interlock devices -- this program is far more effective at preventing people from drinking and altering their behavior. The reason, it appears, is the prevailing threat of immediate punishment. Ignition interlock devices only prevent someone from driving, though they could cause additional punishment down the line.

The threat of being sent to jail immediately if the test shows any alcohol changes the way people behave.

This may initially sound like a great thing, and for the most part, it is. But as we have talked about before, tests aren't perfect. They can turn up incorrect results for a variety of reasons -- and under this program, those incorrect results could then be used to implement an immediate jail sentence. Even programs with the best intentions can fail.

Source: CommonWealth, "Another approach on drunk driving," Colman M. Herman, Jan. 12, 2016

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