One for the road- group programme for repeat drink drivers
Keywords: Drink Driving
Submission Date: 2012
Alcohol-related crash deaths and injuries remain an important public health issue, accounting for 31% of fatal road crashes in New Zealand, with 72% of the alcohol-related crashes caused by repeat drink drivers or those more than 50% the legal limit for driving (Ministry of Transport, 2009, 2010). It is now generally acknowledged that preventing recidivists from re-offending is likely to have the greatest impact on alcohol-related crashes (Campbell, 2000; Joyce, 2000; Roadsafe Auckland, 2001). One for the Road is an innovative, intensive, brief group therapy programme targeting repeat drink drivers in NZ. The programme which has been run over the last 4 years with over 500 drink drivers “graduating?, is based on best-practice research, adapted and re-fined into a unique structure and process for the New Zealand context. The group therapy process is the key, and this enables a focus on deeper issues in working towards change in thinking and behaviour, while the programme features specific methods designed to engage with Maori and Pacific Islander participants. The outcomes have been encouraging, with qualitative measures indicating increased Readiness to Change and decreased Risk of Drink Driving in the future, and 97% claiming they would keep to a zero blood alcohol concentration when driving in future. Quantitative data from NZTA records show only a 4.6% re-conviction rate (1 in 21 people) over a period of 6 to 30 months following group completion (3.3% people reconvicted within 6 months, and a further 1.3% in the next 6-12 months). This re-conviction rate is comparable with overseas evaluations of effective programmes and is more impressive given the profile of the One for the Road programme participants to date (i.e. relatively high previous drink-drive convictions compared to overseas programmes, and the high proportion of Maori and Pacific Islander participants). Furthermore, the relatively inexpensive cost of the programme indicates that it is likely to be highly cost-effective.