Author(s): Christine M. Wickens, Rosely Flam-Zalcman, Robert E. Mann, Gina Stoduto, Chloe Docherty, Rita K. Thomas
The current study compared characteristics of non-recidivist versus recidivist drink-drivers, and of recidivists in their first versus second appearance at Ontario’s Back on Track (BOT) remedial program. Information from 59,134 convicted drivers who participated in BOT between 2000 and 2010 was examined to identify drivers who completed the program a second time following reconviction. A total of 586 recidivists were identified. Compared to non-recidivist drivers, recidivists at first attendance were younger, more likely to be male, less likely to be married, and had higher scores on measures of alcohol dependence and adverse consequences of substance use including memory, relationship and legal problems. Compared to non-recidivist drivers, recidivists at second attendance were significantly older, less likely to be single, more likely to be previously married, had a higher income, were more likely to be retired and less likely to be employed part-time. They had more health and relationship problems, but fewer legal problems. Recidivists reported fewer drinking days, fewer drinks per occasion, but more use of benzodiazepines than non-recidivists, and had higher scores on a measure of future risk of alcohol- and drug-related problems. Comparison of recidivists’ characteristics at first versus second attendance confirmed many of these findings, with second-time recidivists reporting fewer drinking days, more use of benzodiazepines, and higher scores on a measure of future substance use problems than first-time recidivists. Results suggest that identification of drivers at increased risk of recidivism may be possible at first program attendance by examining demographic profile and indicators of increased alcohol-related problems. Also, recidivists appear to show a greater readiness to change at second attendance. Implications for remedial program development and recommendations for future research are discussed.