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DUI court in the schools: An innovative approach to reducing drinking and driving among youth

Christina Oshinsky, MPH and Joyce Chung, MPH, PhD. Traffic Safe Communities Network in Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, 770 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose, CA 95128, 408-494-7854, christina.oshinsky@hhs.co.scl.ca.us

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds - with alcohol being the primary collision factor. Traffic Safe Communities Network (TSCN), a community partnership led by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, developed the “Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court in the Schools” pilot project. This 4-hour innovative project is designed to address underage drinking and impaired driving. The project transfers an actual DUI trial from the courthouse to a high school auditorium, and provides fundamental exposure to the justice system while educating students about the legal consequences of drinking and driving. Students learn about the defendant’s arrest, trial process, fines and penalties imposed. Following the trial, the judge facilitates a group discussion engaging students, guests, and courtroom participants in an interactive DUI law/civics lesson. TSCN staff works closely with attorneys, judges, school representatives, and coalition members to coordinate this unique collaboration. The court system coordinates as well as conducts the school trials in the same manner as they do within the County courthouse. Schools are provided with materials to incorporate into classroom curriculum. In addition, network members participate as speakers, volunteers, and resource specialists at the school DUI trials and monthly coalition meetings. Over 3,000 high schools seniors from 13 local high schools throughout the county participated in the pilot project from April 2001 through May 2003. As a result of this successful collaborative, TSCN offers these DUI trials throughout the school year.

Learning Objectives: Learning Objectives

Keywords: Alcohol, Coalition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Adolescents: Living In And Creating Unhealthy Environments

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA