Impaired Driver Care Management Programs - Part II

This is the second of a three-part series on Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMPs), the program of evaluations, substance abuse education, and aftercare management mandated for all people convicted of driving while intoxicated in NH (DWI).

IDCMP Lecturer at Ted's DWI CLE

Last week, I was the chair-person and lecturer at the NH Bar Association's all-day CLE entitled "DWI Litigation: Keeping Pace with a Rapidly Changing Landscape." The program was very successful, with almost 100 prosecutors and defense lawyers in attendance or viewing a live web-cast. As you can see from the 2014 NH Bar DWI CLE Final Agenda, one of the speakers was Robert Kelley, who has been the Director of Amethyst Foundation since its founding in 1984. Amethyst Foundation is one of the seven private organizations that runs an IDCMP in NH.

Screening Instruments

At the screening evaluation, which must take place within 14 days of sentencing for a person convicted of DWI, the IDCMP administers the following tests: the Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II), and the Research on Addictions Self-Inventory (RIASI).

These tests are scored based on research thought to indicate that certain patterns of answers reflect a likelihood of a substance abuse disorder.

14-Day Screening- a Meaningless Charade for Some Clients

All this is a meaningless charade, however, for clients who automatically screen positive because they fit certain criteria. These are clients who had a BAC of .16 or higher (over 21), or .08 or higher (under 21), or had a prior 1st offense DWI conviction. They are deemed to screen positive by administrative regulation, but are still required to pay for and attend the screening evaluation. This is NOT the fault of the IDCMP, it is a NH regulation that the IDCMP must follow.

The Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II)

The DRI-II consists of 84 true/false questions, 34 subjective self-ratings on various topics, and 11 multiple choice questions.

Here's an example of a true/false question on the DRI-II: "3. I am impatient and often drive fast."

Here's an example of a subjective self-rating: "Rate yourself as either 1) rarely or never, 2) sometimes, 3) often or 4) very often" for the following item: "98. Fatigued/Tired/Sluggish"

Don't Try to Beat the System

As you can see, many of the questions do not deal directly, but at best indirectly, with the underlying issue, whether the person has a substance abuse disorder. IDCMPs, and responsible lawyers, discourage their clients from trying to "beat the system" by answering in a way that client thinks might result in a negative screening. The instrument is designed to flag for dishonesty, certain patterns of answers that are typical of people who are contriving their answers rather than answering honestly and truthfully.


In a similar fashion, the RIASA has some questions that address the underlying issue head-on ("When the alcohol runs out, I leave a party"), and questions that seem to have little or nothing to do with the underlying issue ("Since the age of 18, I have needed emergency treatment for an injury of some kind."). Again, these tests are looking for patterns of answers. If you contrive your answers, the pattern you will create will be a pattern of deception, which will ensure that you will be prescribed onerous aftercare.

The next and final installment of this three-part series will address the full substance use disorder evaluation, the Impaired Driver Education Program, and summarize the problems with the current regulations governing IDCMPs.