A Baltimore County drunk-driving program that is to be implemented on a state-wide basis has failed to accomplish its goal of reducing recidivism, according to a new study.
The study found that participants in the program are just as likely to be repeat offenders as those not in the program.
Participants in the program are required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and are forbidden to drink during their probation in an attempt to cut down on drunk driving. Attendance is monitored weekly and those who fail to cooperate are subject to having their probation revoked.
District Judge David Bates, who created the program, assailed the study. He said many county judges were unfamiliar with his program during the period of the study and did not use it properly.
In fact, The study found that Bates himself had a much lower percent recidivism rate among those he found guilty of drunk or impaired driving. Despite the findings, the state is moving ahead with its $1.1 million implementation of the Drinking Driver Monitoring Program, as suggested by the Governor's Task Force on Drunk Driving.
Included in the study were Baltimore County residents over 18 who were found guilty in county district courts between July 1978 and December 1979.
Of the 1,003 drivers studied, 553 had been assigned to the Drinking Driver Monitor Program, while the other 450 had not. The study showed that 17.4 percent of those who participated in the program repeated their offense. They were found guilty, or given probation before judgment, by Dec. 31, 1981.
Of those who did not use the program, only 15.3 percent became repeat offenders, a difference the study says is not statistically significant.