Driving while intoxicated :the problem and the offender



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Driving While Intoxicated: The Problem and the Offender, Master of Arts, (Institute of Contemporary Corrections and the Behavioral Sciences), Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, 1972. Purpose: It is the purpose of this study to provide a current and comprehensive view of the drinking driver as a serious and contemporary social problem. Aspects of prevention and punishment will be examined from a legal, educational and rehabilitation standpoint. Based upon the findings of this study, it is the intention of this writer to propose workable solutions which will aid law enforcement personnel in dealing effectively with this type of offender. Moreover, recommendation will be outlined for the effective ad realistic treatment of the alcoholic offender. Finally, it is the hope that this study, through an analysis of laws and approaches of other states ad countries, will influence future legislation in regard to our attitudes and concepts in the area of drinking and driving. Methods: Through a search of literature in the area of alcohol and the impaired or intoxicated driver, a study of the historical development of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, and by surveying present methods of arrest and conviction of this type of offender, a proposal for changes in current Texas law pertaining to this offense as been formulated. Available information in the area of DWI indicates that a majority of research has been conducted on the offense rather than the offender. In an effort to identify distinguishing characteristics of this type of offender, this author conducted a study of the 118 persons confined in the Texas Department of Corrections for the offence of driving while intoxicated. Data on eighteen factors were collected and recorded on a data sheet. This information was coded for and analyzed by the computer, making it possible to obtain statistical information which is recorded on tables and interpreted. Findings: A thorough search of the literature in the area revealed the following: (1) Present methods of dealing with the DWI offender have not been successful in substantially reducing the incidence of drunk driving. (2) A significant portion of drinking drivers can be considered problem drinkers and have been previously arrested for alcohol-related offenses. (3) better methods of arrest and conviction are necessary although rehabilitative treatment of the offender may play a more vital role in reducing the problem. (4) An extensive educational campaign may be necessary in order to accomplish an attitude change by the public toward the drinking driver problem. The following are the most salient points revealed by this study: (1) The typical DWI offender has between one and six years of formal education. (2) He has an IQ level of 74.4 which would place him in the borderline range of intellectual functioning. (3) He has been convicted frequently as an adult for both misdemeanors and felonies. (4) He has been confined in a state penitentiary at least once. (5) He has prior convictions for DWI but has not been involved in a formal treatment program for alcoholism.



Drinking and traffic accidents, Driving While Intoxicated, drinking driver, social problem, prevention