In 2020, through a grant from Responsibility.org and GHSA, the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) evaluated the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) process being used in the 6th Judicial District’s DWI Court.
The SBIRT process seeks to determine if first-time impaired driving offenders show signs of deep-rooted issues that may lead them to reoffend and seeks to provide services to those individuals to reduce the chances that they will drive impaired again. OTS sought out a comprehensive assessment of SBIRT policies and practices to determine if the process should be used in all DWI Courts. The assessment found that reducing the time between the DWI event and the SBIRT screening enhances the model’s effectiveness, and reducing that time was incorporated into recommendations to improve the program. Importantly, the analysis found the SBIRT process would be beneficial in all Minnesota DWI Courts.
The pandemic proved to be a challenge for completing the evaluation and resulted in an extension of the grant timeline. Despite those difficulties, the 6th Judicial District’s DWI Court offered the SBIRT process to nearly 100 individuals in the 1st quarter of FY 2022. Of those individuals, 59 received the SBIRT interviews and follow-up services. Providing services to at-risk drivers preemptively reduces the potential of repeat impaired driving offenses, leading to an expected reduction in Minnesota’s impaired driving recidivism rate.