In some cases, offenders may be Court ordered to attend some kind of diversion program that is designed to educate about the dangers of drink driving and other forms of reckless behaviour behind the wheel.
Queenslander’s are fortunate to have several choices when it comes to drink driving rehabilitation programs. Each of the outlined courses (below) are in our experience, highly regarded by the courts. Accordingly, completing any of these programs should be sufficient to satisfy Court ordered requirements. Some of these classes are also suitable for drivers who have not been arrested for drink driving but are interested in improving their skills and awareness when behind the wheel. Regardless of whether your attendance is Court ordered or not, you’ll emerge from these programs as a more adept and alert driver who is less likely to be involved in an accident.
Queensland Traffic Offenders Program, or QTOP, is not ordered by the courts as a part of sentence, however it is designed to help traffic offenders avoid getting into trouble with the law again. This award-winning safety program has been offered since 2006 and has already helped thousands of drivers improve their performance on the road. Participants attend three (3) nights over a three (3) week period. Each nightly seminar is presented by various authorities and experts, many of them coming from Queensland Fire & Rescue, Ambulance Services (paramedics), drug and alcohol counsellors, grief counsellors or victims of car accidents. Lawyers and psychologists may also participate. The ultimate goal of the program is to educate drivers about safe drinking levels and about the short- and long-term consequences that drink driving can have. Ultimately, participants generally discover why they have a tendency toward drink driving and may be discouraged from doing so in the future. Documentation regarding satisfactory completion of the program including homework notes about what was learnt in the course, are tendered to the court and can assist in having a person’s penalty reduced.
The Under the Limit (UTL) drink driving rehabilitation program requires six (6) weeks of attendance with each session two (2) hours in length. UTL is a recognised leader in traffic safety programs. It was first presented in 1993, and has since undergone extensive revisions. Most notable among the revisions was the switch from an 11 week program to a far shorter 6 weeks. More than 10,000 people have participated in the UTL program, with most of these being referred by the Magistrates’ Courts. The program is presented at TAFE and in Probation and Parole District Offices, which makes it convenient for most people. Probation and parole officers may oversee program participants to ensure compliance with all requirements. Attendees may learn about how to limit their consumption of alcohol and make better choices regarding when to get behind the wheel and when to leave the driving to someone else.
Queensland’s drink driving rehabilitation programs are working! The revamped UTL program is demonstrating an 86% completion rate in recent sessions. Authorities involved with the program suggested that the shortened program is easier for participants to complete. Additionally, statistics suggest that participation in the program reduces the number of repeat offences by as much as 55%. Presenters feel that this may be related to the fact that course content is tailored to encourage participants to analyse their own habits and the underlying causes behind those tendencies.
Whether Queensland’s drink driving rehabilitation programs are used as an alternative to incarceration or are used in conjunction with a period of incarceration, these informative courses are making a difference. The people who participate and the drivers who share the road with them all benefit as a result of the quality of these programs.