This paper presents an overview of the trends and issues service providers should consider when assisting survivors of impaired driving crimes.
In 2009, approximately 10,000 people died in vehicle crashes in which a driver was alcohol-impaired. Victims of impaired driving include those who are injured or killed by an impaired driver, as well as family members and friends of those who are injured or killed by impaired drivers. Specific victimization effects for injured surviving victims of impaired driving and their family/friends are outlined. With particular reference to victim service providers, one section of the paper identifies and discusses effective victim-support and advocacy responses for those impacted by impaired driving crashes. Topics addressed are the provisions of impaired-driving laws, assistance for survivors, important subjects in the education of victim service providers who assist impaired-driving victims, working with survivors at various stages of the aftermath of the crash, and advocating for the prevention of and effective responses to impaired driving. The section of the paper that addresses "Cultural Sensitivity and Barriers to Reporting" focuses on the importance of taking into account the cultural backgrounds of those impacted by impaired-driving crashes. Barriers to victim assistance pertain to language, a hearing handicap, diverse religious beliefs, immigrations status, sexual orientation, diverse cultural perspectives of impaired driving, and varying cultural perspectives of law enforcement officers and the criminal justice system. A discussion of "Future Considerations" focuses on the importance of identifying and responding appropriately to other causes of impaired driving other than alcohol and drugs, e.g., testing, cell phone use, running traffic lights and stop signs, and drowsiness while driving. 23 notes
Date Published: September 1, 2012