The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), in partnership between principals from TIRF, Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, under funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in Transdisciplinary Studies in Driving While Impaired Onset, Persistence, Prevention and Treatment, have released a series of impaired driving risk assessment reports. Drinking and driving has been widely recognized as a major social problem in Canada for more than three decades. While much attention has been given to increasing fines and sanctions, there is increasing recognition of the importance and benefits of tools such as risk assessment and treatment as alternatives to complement punitive measures.
Research shows that properly designed strategies and tools developed to match offenders’ risks and needs with appropriate programs and interventions have beneficial effects, including reductions in recidivism as well as reductions in substance misuse that translate into long-term risk reduction and higher levels of public safety. Two reports were published as part of this project. The Primer for Practitioners summarizes research about the profiles and characteristics of impaired drivers, impaired driving risk factors, risk assessment instruments, treatment interventions, best practices, and, research gaps. The Primer for Policymakers describes risk assessment practices in Canada that are utilized as part of remedial programs for impaired drivers. Continued efforts are needed to increase understanding and to inform approaches that can best prevent impaired driving behaviour, as well as manage, supervise and treat those that are detected and processed through the criminal justice system.