DUI Enforcement A Case Study of the Implementation of a Best Practice as Part of the Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws June 2003 Susan Brittain, M. A.ED. DUI Enforcement A Case Study of the Implementation of a Best Practice as Part of the Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws Susan Brittain, M. A.ED. Introduction Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. There is no doubt that underage drinking is a major public health problem in the United States, particularly due to ambivalence toward drinking in general and especially toward underage drinking. Many feel that teenagers always have drunk and always will drink. Consequently, underage drinking is often treated as a minor infraction, or ignored altogether. All too often, parents regard underage drinking as a “rite of passage” and express relief that at least their children are not using illicit drugs (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1999). Underage DUI enforcement was picked as a best practice, and Arizona was chosen for this case study because funds from the state’s Enforcing Underage Drinking (EUDL) block grants to support underage DUI enforcement efforts. Specifically, these funds are used to pay overtime to law enforcement officers and to buy equipment to combat DUI and underage drinking. In addition, Arizona has been very successful in implementing a strong DUI enforcement coalition that includes a significant focus on underage drinking. Underage DUI enforcement efforts can include passage of state legislation such as zero tolerance laws, and graduated drivers’ licensing; enforcement initiatives such as sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, administrative license revocation and creation of hold over facilities; educational efforts including public information campaigns and school- based education programs; and other DUI prevention methods, including designated driver programs and server training programs. In order to institute a successful underage DUI enforcement program there needs to be comprehensive, localized, and broad-based support from the community, including representatives from the public sector, private sector, businesses and concerned citizens. For example public sector involvement may include representatives of law enforcement agencies, ABC agencies, court systems, schools, treatment and rehabilitation agencies and local governments. Private sector representatives may include local restaurant and bar owners and managers, off-sale alcohol outlets, media, and insurance companies. Advocacy and public interest groups, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and other citizen advocates should also be provided with opportunities for involvement. How do you design and implement a successful underage DUI enforcement program? This report is designed to help answer that question by helping EUDL Coordinators: • Determine the characteristics of a sound underage DUI enforcement program • Plan, implement and organize a successful program, and • Develop their distinct role as a Coordinator. Background In 1998, about 10.4 million current drinkers were between the ages of 12 and 20. More than five million of these individuals were binge drinkers (five or more drinks in a row for men, four or more drinks in a row for women). One study estimates the total economic cost of alcohol use by underage drinkers in America amounts to nearly $53 billion annually, including over $19 billion in traffic crashes (Booze News, 1999). However, alcohol-related traffic fatalities have declined among young persons since 1982 due to increases in the minimum drinking age (from 18 to 21 years old), educational efforts and programs aimed at reducing drinking and driving among young persons, formation of student groups to combat drinking and driving, and changes in state laws penalizing drivers less than 21 years of age for driving with low BAC’s (blood alcohol content) (Vegega & Klein, 1991). Despite the existence of such laws, loopholes and weak enforcement abound. Wagenaar and Wolfson, in 1994, estimated that only two out of every 1,000 occasions of underage drinking resulted in an arrest. Active enforcement of underage drinking laws followed by consistent “use and lose” license withdrawal has been shown to reduce alcohol-related crashes involving young drivers (Giesbrecht, 1999). Although the rates of alcohol-involved traffic accidents in the United States have declined in recent years, drinking and driving and riding with drinking drivers remain serious problems among teenagers and young adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the more youth drink, the more likely they are to drink and drive, or ride in a car where the driver has been drinking (Drug Strategies, 1999). Survey data suggest that as many as 40% of American adolescents have driven after drinking and that 62% have ridden with an intoxicated driver. In 1999, there were 6,374 youth motor vehicle crashes, 2,238 alcohol related--74% of those involved were male (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1999). Young people age 15 – 20 make up 6.7% of the total driving population but are involved in 14% of all fatal crashes. Three factors work together to make the teen years so deadly for young drivers—inexperience, risk- taking behavior and immaturity, and greater risk exposure (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1998). Adding to the incidence of youth traffic fatalities is the fact that young drivers have much higher crash rates during the night than during the day. While drivers ages 16 to 17 accumulate only 14% of their miles driven between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM, they experience 39% of their fatal crashes during that time period. It is highly likely that some of the increased risk at night is due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs (Presseur, Sole & Stewart, 1999). The years since 1980 have witnessed an unprecedented growth of grassroots activism and legislation designed to address the drunk driving problem. Responding in part to research concerning the extent of alcohol involvement in fatal traffic crashes, numerous citizen action groups were formed, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD, now Students Against Destructive Decisions). These groups lobbied for new laws and promoted school-based and public education programs aimed at preventing drinking and driving. Furthermore, national newspaper and television network coverage of drinking and driving increased dramatically during the 1980’s (Hingson, 1993). The establishment of the President’s Commission on Drunk Driving in 1982 placed the issue on the national agenda, and the Alcohol Traffic Safety Act of 1983 established financial incentives for states to bring their traffic safety programs into compliance with federal recommendations for tough drinking laws (Evans, Neville & Graham, 1991). Underage DUI Enforcement For young persons, the most immediate determinants of drinking and driving behaviors are three sets of beliefs about DUI—expectancies, peer and family beliefs, and control beliefs. Expectancies encompass the beliefs that an individual holds about the likelihood that DUI will lead to consequences, such as arrest, loss of license or injury and, more generally, beliefs about how safe or dangerous it is to drive after drinking. Behaviors of peers and family can have a significant influence on underage DUI, as well as the expectations about the availability of alternatives that young people feel they have to driving after drinking—whether they feel in control of the situation (Grube & Voas, 1996). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (1992) identified three major reasons why young drivers are not being arrested for DUI at rates which are anywhere near their incidence in the alcohol crash population. 1. Place—Since underage drinking is illegal, it is less likely to occur at bars, restaurants and other traditional drinking places. Most young drivers drink at parks, beaches and in neighborhoods—not primary patrol areas for traffic, highway and/or DUI officers. 2. Time—Young drivers do most of their drinking and driving on weekends. The peak time period is from approximately 10 PM until 2 AM on Friday and Saturday. These nighttime periods also represent peak demand periods for other types of police services. This is also the time when large numbers of youths congregate at concerts, sporting events and keg parties. Such large concentrations of youths drinking can overwhelm available resources. 3. Driving Cues—Most officers are trained in the established or traditional DUI detection cues—psychomotor impairment seen as the inability to control the motion of the vehicle in the traffic lane. For youth, cognitive impairment may cause them to lose good judgment and behave without regard to the inherent risks in speeding, hard weaves and erratic lane changes. Youth DUI cues are not as well understood as the traditional cues, and this may affect youth DUI detection, imposition of implied consent statutes on youth and enforcement of the lower youth BAC laws. Grube and Vaos (1996) found that peer and family beliefs and enforcement expectancies seem to be somewhat less important for the drinking and driving decisions made by young people. The findings suggest that preventive efforts should focus on further increasing awareness among young people about the physical risks of DUI and about their own vulnerability to these risks. Similarly, providing alternatives to DUI and increasing young people’s awareness of these alternatives appears to be important. In addition, prevention interventions might seek to increase the salience of enforcement and strengthen the relationship between enforcement beliefs and DUI behavior. The lack of a relationship between these beliefs and underage DUI may largely reflect an accurate assessment of the relatively low likelihood of being detected and of suffering legal consequences for driving after drinking. The ratio of DUI arrests to alcohol-involved injury accidents is even lower among underage drivers than it is for older drivers. Increasing enforcement of underage drinking and driving laws can be an important preventive strategy. However, increasing perceptions of the likelihood of legal consequences either through the media or through enhanced police visibility appears to be a necessary component of successful DUI enforcement campaigns. Implementation Design and Strategies According to NHTSA (1994), there are eight major elements of a juvenile DUI enforcement program: • Policy Oversight and Coordination • Strategic and Tactical Planning • Reactive and Proactive Enforcement • Prosecution • Adjudication and Diversion • Supervision and Treatment • Public Education • Feedback and Evaluation In order to implement a strong juvenile DUI enforcement program, EUDL Coordinators must first decide on the program elements needed in their respective states. Program considerations can include available resources, such as law enforcement urban growth and parental attitudes toward drinking and driving. Coordinators can begin to implement these eight elements only after careful planning Characteristics of a Sound Program People are involved in the issue of juvenile underage drinking enforcement because they want to make a difference. They want to reach a common goal. It’s one of the reasons we have been able to operate a successful program in Arizona. Everyone works together. --La Retta Lehan, EUDL Coordinator, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Arizona’s DUI task force has been together for over 20 years. Initially made up of law enforcement officers, the coalition now includes ABC, SADD, MADD, Indian Tribal Police, and Parks and Recreation and emergency medical personnel. Although each state will ultimately have to decide its own program elements, members of the Arizona coalition all agree that the following elements should be present in order for a program to be successful: • Effective Leadership—Alberto Gutier, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, is the driving force behind the DUI efforts in the state. He has effectively utilized both EUDL and NHTSA funds in reaching the most coalition organizations and people. They, in turn, have helped him build a successful program. Mr. Gutier is also an advocate for policy change around toughening laws, including DUI. Strategies: Effective leadership must have a comprehensive view of underage DUI enforcement. The whole picture is important, otherwise you miss opportunities. Barriers: One barrier to effective leadership is parental attitudes toward what leadership is trying to accomplish in underage enforcement. Many times parents don’t see the seriousness of alcohol use. Oftentimes parents are relieved that their child is using alcohol and not drugs. The lack of parental understanding about the seriousness of providing alcohol to minors can undercut the leadership involved in underage DUI enforcement. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can play an important role in facilitating effective leadership by building strong relationships with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Once these relationships have been established, the key to continuing success is good communication among the agencies and organizations and the EUDL coordinator. The EUDL Coordinator’s communication and coalition-building skills can go a long way in bringing everyone together to work towards a common goal. • Strong Partnerships—As former law enforcement officers, Mr. Guiter and EUDL Coordinator La Retta LeHan have made sure that law enforcement partnerships throughout the state are strong. They have done this by encouraging smaller police departments to work together to combat underage drinking. They have also built good relationships with liquor control agents, tribal police, university police forces and organizations such as MADD and SADD to help build a comprehensive program of enforcement and education. Strategies: Strong partnerships require a common goal. Coalition members should be involved because they want to make a difference in underage DUI enforcement. Barriers: La Retta LeHan, EUDL Coordinator in Arizona, says the biggest barrier she has seen in other states to strong partnerships is agencies and organizations working against each other instead of with each other. She believes that until this type of barrier is broken down, you cannot build a successful underage DUI enforcement program. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can help foster strong partnerships between agencies and organizations by being a source of information and support to all involved with the project. He/She can work with organizations to mediate competitive relationships and help agencies see the value in partnership and teamwork. A Coordinator who is open to new ideas and innovation goes a long way in building strong partnerships. If the EUDL Coordinator does not have skills in facilitation or mediation, there are organizations that can offer training in these areas. • Common Goal—The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety believes strongly that the only way to build a successful underage DUI enforcement program is for everyone to work together towards a common goal. Strategies: Work towards a common goal comes about through effective communication, reinforcement of program goals, and the communication of results to program participants and the community. Barriers: The barriers to reaching a common goal are competition between agencies/organizations; unclear program goals and failure to communicate effectively to program participants and the community. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator is largely responsible for working with agencies and organizations to develop program goals, facilitate interaction between agencies and organizations and offer open communication to all program participants and the community. • Buy In from Superiors—Each of the people interviewed from the coalition said they could not be as effective as they have been without strong support from their superiors. They were able to gain and keep this support by constantly communicating with their superiors and producing results. Strategies: Strong, effective leadership from the organization responsible for distributing EUDL funds can go a long way in convincing administrators and decision makers in partnering agencies to support underage DUI efforts. Common goals and positive results stemming from those goals are also facilitators for buy in from agency superiors. Barriers: The largest barriers to buy-in from superiors is lack of effective communication of the problem, unclear program goals and a failure to communicate results in such a way that those in charge see the value of the effort. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can elicit support from those in charge in agencies and organizations by making sure that program goals are understood, that problems that arise are communicated and addressed quickly, and that results are communicated in a timely fashion. Monthly reporting procedures can be helpful in communicating to all parties involved in the decision making process. • An Effective Strategy for Addressing the Media—Alberto Gutier makes himself available to the media 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days out of the year. He was able to obtain media coverage for DUI enforcement, both print and TV, almost daily during this past holiday season by being available and offering daily statistics on DUI stops and numbers arrested. Mr. Gutier stresses that without a strong media strategy you cannot hope for a successful DUI enforcement program. Media blitzes provide important assistance when used in conjunction with enforcement campaigns. The purpose is to alert the public to an upcoming campaign through stories in print and electronic media, to raise the public’s awareness of efforts to deal with the problem, and to deter the illegal behavior. Increased news coverage and general information campaigns also enhance enforcement. To reduce repeat DUI offenses, it is important to have extensive publicity that informs the public of a high level of police enforcement and swift and certain punitive sanctions. Gotthoffer (1999) found that in order for public service announcements to be effective with underage drinkers, they must “hit home” and touch upon consequences for underage drinkers. For example, people we interviewed for this case study said that anti-drinking and driving PSAs do not touch upon underage drinker’s biggest fear—getting a DUI. Because most anti-drinking and driving PSAs feature consequences to which youth do not relate, they are anything but effective. Advertising needs to challenge students’ feelings of invincibility and make them believe that every time they get into a car when they have been drinking, they run the risk of getting into trouble—getting a DUI, going to court, paying large fines, and risking their futures. Participants in this study suggested that they would respond more to realistic ads, particularly ones that spoke to their town and the likelihood of their being involved in a drinking and driving accident. For example, ads showing innocent children killed in places familiar to the college student or showing someone they know being pulled over and charged with DUI would bring the problem closer to home and would make college students aware that this could happen to them if they drink and drive. Another area that is virtually ignored in education campaigns is parental participation. If parents are urged through advertising to teach their children to drink responsibly, there is a better chance that their children will not drink and drive. Another element that should not be overlooked in public information campaigns is direct youth involvement. Who better than youth themselves to serve as authentic and knowledgeable voices in lobbying for laws or policies that curtail inappropriate promotion and glamorization of alcohol, drinking-related risk-taking among their peers, and inappropriate role models for youth provided by adults. Youth can also play key roles in enforcement efforts, providing information on where better enforcement is needed and pointing to major gaps in current enforcement practices (Giesbrecht, 1999). When considering enforcement issues, it is essential to keep in mind that detecting, apprehending, and punishing violators is not as important as deterring young people from drinking and driving in the first place. Deterrence is strongest when people believe that their punishment will be certain, swift and severe. Therefore, well-publicized enforcement campaigns in which the apprehended offenders receive penalties are extremely important—even if there are many offenders who are not caught (Presseur, Sole & Stewart, 1999). Strategies: Come up with a catchy media campaign phrase. For example, in Arizona, they developed a campaign called “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” which was used with a variety of media including billboards, radio, on key chains, DUI vans, etc. Choose someone from your coalition who is media savvy and is willing to make themselves available to the media as a spokesperson. Take the time to build relationships with media across the board—newspapers, TV, advertisers, etc. Barriers: The biggest barrier to a media strategy is the unwillingness on the coalition’s part to build relationships with the media and to be available to them. It does take time both to build relationships and to interact with the media. Having the media as your ally can go a long way in building a successful underage DUI enforcement program. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: If the EUDL Coordinator has expertise and feels comfortable in the role, he or she can be the media relations spokesperson. If this is not a comfortable role the Coordinator can be a facilitator between the media and the person chosen as a spokesperson for the coalition. Often the EUDL Coordinator will be the first contact for the media, so it will be important that he or she build a relationship with the media whether the Coordinator is the spokesperson or not. The Coordinator can help assure that the media get in touch with the spokesperson and that their questions are answered. • Training of Judges and Prosecutors—Reducing underage alcohol use and DUI requires courts and juvenile agencies to use the laws and penalties that apply in a particular state. Many times officers are reluctant to arrest minors engaged in alcohol-related activities if they believe the court, the juvenile justice system, or even their own department is not responsive (National Highway Safety Administration, 1999; Wolfson et al., 1995). Judges must recognize that they can, and should, take a proactive stance in addressing juvenile DUI, and communities must take steps to increase the participation of the judiciary. Meaningful deterrence requires that a hard line be taken so that offenders may be sanctioned and then motivated to participate in treatment. By the same token, prosecutors should have an office policy on prosecution of juvenile impaired-driving cases to ensure consistency and uniformity of prosecutions throughout the office (National Highway Safety Administration, 1999). To answer this need, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has produced a training film for judges and prosecutors to help them understand the need for enforcing underage drinking laws. This 15-minute film can be made available to outside organizations. Strategies: Develop and conduct training for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel about underage drinking laws and DUI laws. Barriers: Judges and prosecutors often undermine law enforcement officers by not treating underage DUI seriously (i.e., low fines, plea bargaining). Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The state EUDL program could provide support for the development and implementation of training for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel as to the seriousness of underage drinking and DUI. This training could be offered as needed for new judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers. The Coordinator can also be responsible for building strong relationships with these entities and being available for questions and concerns. • Strong Consequences—Underage drinkers must perceive that if they are caught drinking and driving there will be consequences for their behavior. Arizona is a zero tolerance state and underage drinkers automatically have their drivers’ license revoked for two years if caught. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety works with judges, prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure they are enforcing the state’s laws. Many states aren’t realizing the full lifesaving benefits of zero tolerance and other DUI legislation because the effectiveness of these laws is watered down. The reasons are inadequate enforcement, failure of courts to treat these offenses seriously, lack of public awareness of the law and ignorance of the potential benefits for all these groups. The effectiveness of juvenile DUI laws depends on strict enforcement, vigorous prosecution and meaningful disposition. If police and court officials aren’t fully enforcing and applying underage DUI laws, the perceived risk of apprehension will be low among young drivers and the deterrent effect of the law will be lost. In addition, law enforcement officers are going to be even more reluctant to enforce the laws if they know that judges aren’t going to take them seriously (Shearouse, 2000). Strategies: Education in the schools about DUI-related laws and consequences is important. Many times youth do not understand the difference between adult DUI consequences and underage consequences. The use of peer-to-peer messages is often more effective than having an adult speak to youth about DUI and its consequences. Barriers: Most young people do not perceive being caught as a viable threat nor do they think it is a big deal if they get caught. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can work with groups such as MADD and SADD and with law enforcement officers to create an effective education program in the schools that address consequences as well as prevention. • Resources for Enforcement Teams—Those officers enforcing underage drinking laws must have the resources necessary to carry out their duties if their programs are to be successful. EUDL funds have been used in Arizona to help buy handheld PBTs, DUI enforcement vans, and to pay officers’ overtime for DUI enforcement activities. In addition, the Phoenix Police Department has a Youth Squad devoted to underage alcohol enforcement. Strategies: Arizona’s law enforcement uses a command post structure that stresses partnership and teamwork. The larger law enforcement units regularly release officers to work in other jurisdictions when needed on DUI and underage drinking patrols. The police have access to MAP officers who can process and hold youth offenders, thus freeing officers to go back on duty. In addition, they have been successful in securing funds to purchase DUI vans that serve as processing points for both adult and juvenile DUI offenders. Barriers: There is usually not enough staff even with overtime to effectively handle DUI patrols. There is also not enough funding to do extensive underage DUI programs. The safety of the officers and youth have to be taken into consideration when busting a party. Many areas have had large population increases without a resulting increase in law enforcement staff. Many states do not have facilities to hold juvenile DUI offenders who cannot be incarcerated with adults. This may cause an officer to be kept off patrol for a long period while the arrest is processed and the parents are located. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can facilitate different law enforcement agencies working together when they are understaffed and there is a need for help with underage drinking enforcement such as party patrols, sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, etc. It is also possible for the Coordinator to attempt to secure grant funding for enforcement resources. • Know Your Target Areas—Law enforcement officers in Arizona stressed that a program cannot be successful if you don’t know the areas you are serving. It is essential that problems be determined for each area served so they can be addressed and that a determination be made as to what equipment and manpower will be needed to help address those problems. Strategies: Law enforcement officers in Arizona stressed strategic planning and mapping of all areas served in a jurisdiction, including what type of equipment will be needed in different areas and how much manpower will be needed in any given area. They suggested using assistance from larger city police if at all possible to help patrol limited coverage areas. Barriers: When there are large areas of land to cover with limited staff, rural areas are virtually ignored. Role of the EUDL Coordinator: The EUDL Coordinator can be instrumental in helping coordinate planning and mapping of areas to be served by law enforcement. In summary, enforcement of DUI laws, with a particular focus on youth, can be considered a “best practice” for enforcing underage drinking laws and preventing underage drinking. State EUDL programs can play an important role in stimulating and supporting systematic youth DUI enforcement efforts in their states.