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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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A Possible Solution to Drunken Driving

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"What this thing is doing is very interesting," Marques tells WebMD, "because if I'm a real heavy drinker ... I need to get in my car the next morning to start it up for work. Well, the time of day we have the highest frequency of BAC [failures] is between 7 and 8 in the morning. That has such a wonderful educational value, because these people don't feel drunk, they've got no idea that their BAC is still elevated."

Marques says final results are still being tabulated, but he says among the group from Calgary, there's about a 50% reduction in rate of reoffenses among first-time offenders after the interlock is off.

The data have also proven useful as a predictor of behavior, because even though the experience may never change some people's actions, the information may change the actions of the court. "The people who had a higher proportion of failed BACs than anyone else, and that represents about 15% of the sample, that was the most potent predictor of repeat DUI offenses of anything any of us have ever seen," Marques tells WebMD. "The likelihood that they would blow failed BACs was a powerful, powerful predictor of who's going to get a repeat DUI once that interlock's off the car, and that actually gets to be the kind of finding that the courts can make use of.

"All the countries have this problem with the sort of hard-core, repeat offenders, that just don't quite get it, you know, they get eight, nine, 10, 20 repeat DUI offenses and still they go out and do it again. There may simply be a class of DUI offenders for whom permanent kinds of procedures like this are required," Marques says.

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