Two-Year Recidivism Of First-Time DUI Offenders in Davidson County, Tennessee

Davidson Co., TN touts its "driving under the influence" program (Prime For Life) as the best in the state and is sometimes described as the best in the U.S. However, a new study shows a less expensive alternative yields better or equivalent results.

Nashville, Tenn.-203 DUI offenders were assessed for two and three-year post treatment recidivism after completing a cognitive-behavioral DUI school using the MRT®-based Driving the Right Way curriculum. The results were compared to two-year recidivism in a cohort of 1,900 similar offenders treated in the Davidson County Prime For Life Program, which is more costly. Two-year DUI recidivism in the Driving The Right Way program was 4.93% as compared to 5.51% for the Prime For Life group. Statistical analysis showed that the results were not statistically different. In addition, two-year recidivism for any drug/alcohol rearrests in the Driving The Right Way group was 10.84% as compared to 9.36% in the Prime For Life group. Statistical analysis revealed that the results were not statistically different. Results show that the two programs lead to equivalent outcomes.

The study was conducted in a manner that led to an appropriate comparison between the programs; however it notes a glaring limitation in the county's methods of reporting rearrests. Dr. Greg Little, first author of the newly-released report, stated, "Davidson County touts their results as the best in the state, but buried in their reports is a fact that shows the public is being misled. When they collected rearrest data, they included rearrests in only one county in the state, which was their own. There are 95 counties in the state, and Nashville (Davidson County) is surrounded by other highly urbanized counties from which many people commute to Nashville. In essence, they are collecting rearrests on only 1.05% of the state. Their reports inappropriately compare their results to national studies that collected rearrest data from entire states or national databases. In truth, it isn't known what the true recidivism rate is, but it's higher than they report."

The complete study is available as a pdf download at: