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Study finds many DWI offenders still drink heavily

On behalf of Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C. posted in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents on Friday, June 29, 2012

New Mexico is a state that, like many others, has a number of individuals who choose to drink and drive. When a driver is intoxicated, he or she may be more likely to become involved in a fatal accident. And if what a recent study says is true, there may be a lot of people who have been convicted of driving under the influence that continue drinking.

The study was led by an official from the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to her, those who have been convicted of drunk driving are people who are at risk to continue similar behavior. The study interviewed 696 adults from New Mexico who had been convicted of drunk driving approximately 15 years ago.

Researchers found that about 21 percent of those interviewed became abstinent after a period of risky drinking. Risky drinking in a male meant five or more drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks per week -- for females it was four or more drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week.

Thirteen percent of interviewees had varying drinking patterns throughout their lives, while another 14 percent managed to cut down from heavy to moderate drinking and have stuck with the change. Nineteen percent reported that they had been drinking on a risky level for their entire lives, while 25 percent said that they had quit or cut back but later returned to drinking heavily.

Researchers suggested that offenders be given access to treatment because of the risk for repeat offenses. By addressing the problem early in the cycle, experts believe that offenders can change. While it's important to hold drunk drivers accountable, a shift toward treatment could translate to a decrease in the number of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and other drivers.

Source: Reuters, "Drunk drivers show risky lifetime drinking habits - study," June 22, 2012