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24/7 program aimed at preventing repeat DUI offenses

There are a lot of discussions about the best ways to encourage repeat DUI offenders to avoid further offenses in North Dakota and around the United States. Some states utilize ignition interlock devices, which require drivers to blow an alcohol-free test result before allowing them to start their cars. Judges in some states have moved to have these devices installed in the cars of repeat DUI offenders. 

However, a couple states, including North Dakota, are transferring some of these drivers to a new system called the 24/7 program. One state recently launched a pilot program in one of their largest cities that seeks to research the effectiveness of the 24/7 program for their repeat DUI offenders over a five-year period of time. The program includes requirements such as taking breath tests twice per day, submitting to urinalysis tests at random or using continual monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets. 

The 24/7 program is believed to have a more direct impact on repeat offenders than the ignition interlock device because consequences are immediate if they fail a breath or urinalysis test. According to one article, the state launching the pilot program would place participants of the program in jail for 12 hours if they fail a breath test for the first time. If participants fail the breath test a second time, they would go to jail for 24 hours. A third failed test would lead to an appearance before a judge and possibly incarceration. 

South Dakota has been a pioneer in these efforts and a similar study there found that its 24/7 program decreased repeat DUI transgressions by around 12 percent over a five-year period. 

The intention of this program is not to incriminate offenders. Rather the program hopes to help assist DUI offenders in overcoming previous mistakes and make the roads safer for themselves and others. Usually, these programs are supplemented with other helpful resources such as rehabilitation programs and counseling.

While drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs can have serious consequences, every person has made mistakes. This program could help North Dakota drivers overcome the dangers of driving under the influence by assisting rather than blaming participants of the program. 

Source: CBS Miami, "Breath tests get support in DUI wars," April 17, 2014

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