244153 Risk Assessment of impaired driving offenders in Canada: A focus group study on knowledge and practices

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:30 PM

Katherine M. Wood, MPH , TIRF, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Robyn Robertson, MCA , TIRF, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ward Vanlaar, PhD , TIRF, Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Thomas G. Brown, PhD , Addiction Research Studies and Laboratory, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, QC, Canada
Background: The risk assessment of impaired drivers in Canada varies across the criminal justice and the administrative driver licensing systems. The justice system is based upon Federal laws and is uniform across Canada, although jurisdictional practices vary somewhat. Conversely, driver licensing is the mandate of provincial governments, and remedial programs, education/treatment services and re-licensing practices for impaired drivers are diverse. Purpose/Objective: To explore current knowledge and practices relating to the risk assessment of impaired driving offenders in Canada. Methods: Five focus groups were conducted across Canada to gather information from remedial program and licensing staff, treatment professionals, and justice professionals that manage impaired drivers and/or are involved in risk assessments. Preliminary Results: The level of knowledge and understanding of the scientific literature on the risk assessment of impaired drivers varies across jurisdictions and practitioners in the justice and driver licensing systems in Canada. This can stem from different practices related to staff qualifications and training, the level of educational opportunities, available resources, and management structures. Other factors include close partnerships with research staff and level of communication across agencies. Barriers include inconsistent professional development activities and staff supervision/support, limited resources per offender, the quality of available instruments, staff turnover and the inability of agencies to follow up with or ensure compliance among offenders. Conclusion: Risk assessment practices for impaired drivers are diverse across Canada. Efforts are needed to leverage existing strengths and address critical gaps. New avenues of research are also highlighted.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current state of knowledge regarding risk assessments. Discuss the inventory of risk assessment instruments, tools and strategies that are currently applied to impaired driving offenders. Identify weaknesses/barriers that practitioners routinely encounter in the process.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Risk Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a research associate at the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. I have been directly involved in all aspects of this project, including facilitating the focus groups, analyzing the data, and writing the various focus group outcomes and reports.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.