WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) assembled a panel of experts, policymakers, and partners for a discussion on the devastating and dangerous issue of impaired driving and how to combat it effectively. Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council, participated in the discussion, titled Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Substance-Impaired Driving, which was held in Washington, DC at the NTSB Conference Center.
The Century Council, which has been at the forefront in the fight against drunk driving since its inception over 20 years ago, contributed to the discussion by pointing out trends and offering recommendations to create a comprehensive solution to the incredibly dangerous and prevalent problem of hardcore drunk drivers. Hardcore drunk drivers are considered those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15% and above or repeat DWI offenders. High BAC and repeat DWI offenders are involved in the majority of fatal alcohol-impaired driving crashes each year, a trend that has remained relatively unchanged for more than a decade.
By applying the knowledge gained throughout the years of fighting drunk driving, The Century Council has developed five key areas that will help to combat hardcore drunk driving and believes that they should be part of the nation’s agenda to fight impaired driving. Those key areas are:
- Behavioral change: Combine technology with efforts to change behavior. Assess DWI offenders’ problems in order to rehabilitate them while protecting the public. DWI courts and staggered sentencing have been incredibly effective in this regard.
- Supervise offenders: Hardcore drunk drivers are good at manipulating the system and do not follow through with court orders. Effective supervision and the resources to carry it out are of critical importance.
- Education: DWI cases are among the most complex cases to resolve. Ongoing education of criminal justice practitioners is vital to continued progress.
- An individualized approach: Individualized sentencing and rehabilitation must be a priority for hardcore drunk drivers. A one size fits all approach does not work.
- Better data: We need a more accurate measure of the problem in order to focus on better solutions. As safer cars and safer roads lead to fewer deaths, we should explore whether fatality statistics alone are still the best measurement to base policy decisions.
“While drunk driving deaths have fallen by an extraordinary 52% over the last 30 years, no doubt in part due to the hard work of those participating in this panel, it belies a very dangerous and consistent problem – hardcore drunk drivers,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council. “It is critically important to note that hardcore drunk drivers are extraordinarily cunning when it comes to avoiding traditional sanctions that deter the general public from drunk driving. This is why The Century Council introduced our five recommendations for NTSB’s consideration to deal with this problem.”
The Century Council was proud to participate in the NTSB’s panel on eliminating impaired driving and understands the importance of remaining vigilant. It will continue to use its resources to find enhanced and more impactful ways to combat drunk driving in the future.
About The Century Council
The Century Council, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Century Council promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org.
(202)637-0077 or MoffattD@centurycouncil.org