"Since the program was implemented, incidents of drunken driving in the state have declined by 12 percent and incidents of domestic violence have declined by 9 percent."
Marty Jackley, South Dakota Attorney General
Research into the 24/7 Sobriety Program reveals that there is potential to reduce alcohol consumption among problem drinkers —and in turn, certain crimes associated with it—through policy decisionmaking and enforcement. South Dakota's results speak to this impact, which is helping to inform legislation in the state and beyond.
“Paving the Way for Change”
Lauding the program for its impact, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley cited the RAND study in an interview following the release of its findings: “Since the program was implemented, incidents of drunken driving in the state have declined by 12 percent and incidents of domestic violence have declined by 9 percent,” he said. “It has shown the legislature and the public that these programs do work”
In this same interview with The Daily Republic, Jackley also credited the 24/7 Sobriety Program with paving the way for South Dakota Senate bill 70, a Public Safety Improvement Act, created in part due to the established success of the program.
A “Promising” Program
Based on RAND research showing that 24/7 Sobriety reduced arrests for repeat drunk driving and domestic violence in South Dakota, the Department of Justice designated 24/7 Sobriety as a "promising" evidence-based program. More information can be found at the 24/7 Program Profile on the Office of Justice Programs' site, crimesolutions.gov.
Driving New Legislation in Montana
The RAND analysis is also cited in Montana House bill 233, an act revising the 24/7 Sobriety Program and expanding it to include other crimes in which the abuse of alcohol or dangerous drugs was a contributing factor in the commission of the crime. The law also expands the use of the program to additional local law enforcement agencies.
RAND findings helped inform the crux of the law, which cites conclusions that the program's “frequent alcohol testing combined with swift, certain, and modest sanctions for violations can reduce problem drinking and improve public health outcomes and public safety.”
The law also mentions evidence of the program's success when applied to repeat DUI offenders and offenders of other crime, such as domestic violence, in which alcohol abuse or dangerous drugs is a factor.
RAND research continues to explore how the 24/7 Sobriety Program influences other county-level outcomes in South Dakota, but it is critical that researchers study whether it can work outside the state—in both rural and urban areas.
The hope is that findings will encourage future investment in experimental evaluations that provide further evidence on the causal effects of programs that adopt innovative deterrence approaches.