Today, the Honorable Richard A. Vlavianos, in front of the California state capitol and surrounded by other Public Safety and Law Enforcement Officials, announced the launch of a new, nationwide non-profit organization designed to treat high risk and repeat DUI offenders. The new non-profit, ACCESS, launches with a foundation of learnings and track record of saving lives as proven through a pilot that’s been active in California since 2008.
“After nearly fifteen years and more than 5,000 participants, we’ve seen firsthand the difference this approach can make in changing behaviors and saving lives,” said Chair of ACCESS and California Superior Court Judge Richard A. Vlavianos. “Each day, roughly 28 people die in drunk driving related car crashes and it’s only fitting we make this announcement today as we kick off National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.”
Current DUI and Drug Courts make an undeniable impact treating a smaller, more targeted population in need of more significant support. ACCESS extends a similar approach to the remaining 70% of repeat DUI offenders that don’t qualify for traditional DUI court. A recent study of the 5,200 participants indicates the concept is significantly changing behaviors with an 80% completion rate and most encouraging, a 19% decrease in DUI crashes. The six-year longitudinal study also found that participants did not revert to the norm upon completion of the program, indicating signs of long-term behavioral change.
“Existing special courts work with high-risk offenders who have high treatment needs, while ACCESS fills the gap by focusing on offenders who may be high risk, but don’t require the same level of treatment,” said Judge Vlavianos. “To make an impact, we needed to ensure the ACCESS program was scalable and affordable. I’m excited that we can provide monitoring, education and training to repeat DUI offenders at a fraction of the cost of typical treatment programs, at about $10,000 less per participant.”
Discussions with multiple state law enforcement and judicial officials interested in launching ACCESS are currently underway. Those with questions or interested in learning more are encouraged to visit chooseaccess.org.