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New Mexico On the Road to Reducing Drunk Driving

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 56 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 22-26
Janet Dewey-Kollen
Date Published
September 2008
5 pages
This article describes the core components of New Mexico’s strategy to reduce drunk driving, which achieved a 17-percent reduction in overall alcohol-related crashes in 2005.
The four core components of New Mexico’s Comprehensive DWI Strategic Plan are law enforcement, treatment, judicial, and prevention. Regarding enforcement, law enforcement agencies from small towns to State Police have increased their enforcement of DWI laws over the past several years. This has included an increase in the number of coordinated statewide DWI crackdowns from five to eight per year. These crackdowns are in addition to sobriety checkpoints conducted monthly in every State Police district, in 37 cities, and in 26 of the State’s 33 counties. This intensified DWI enforcement has impacted approximately 85 percent of the State’s population. The judicial and treatment components of the program are linked, in that the “Enhanced Supervision of First Time DWI Offenders Project” enables courts to supervise high-risk offenders for compliance with probation requirements, which include counseling, ignition interlock use, DWI school, and attendance at a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Panel. In the area of prevention, innovative public awareness campaigns have advised the public of the potential outcomes of a DWI conviction. Over the past several years, the State legislature has enacted laws that mandate alcohol ignition interlocks for all DWI offenders, including first-offenders; treatment for second and subsequent DWI offenses; and a fourth-degree felony for adults who sell or give alcohol to minors. In addition, the legislature provided funding for innovative programs. This coordinated strategy emerged from the Governor’s convening of a meeting of his cabinet in 2003, as well as appropriate department directors, advocates, victims, and others concerned about the State’s DWI problem. After 4 months of planning, a DWI czar was appointed to implement the plan.