The Erosion of Educational DUI Classes (The Value of Human Contact vs. the Ease of Technology)

If you get yourself a DUI in the State of Nevada you are going to have to do a few things. The Victim Impact Panel, some community service, pay some fines and complete a Level I DUI School Program. DUI School is an educational program to inform the individual about the problems one can have with drinking, drugging and driving. The material tends to focus on the legal, medical and social aspects of these concerns. The program is supervised by the Department of Motor Vehicles and all of the aspects are defined by State law. I have been a Licensed DUI School Instructor since 2003 and am proud of the professional program I provide.

As the tech world has encroaching to our everyday lives, so has it done with the arrival of the “online DUI School.”  These were initially viewed by the courts with great apprehension as they were, and remain, riddled with serious issues. Among them are:

  1. There is simply no way to authenticate that the person enrolling and taking the course is actually the person mandated to do so by the court.
  2. The testing of the participants is not proctored or verified so again, we do not know who took the exam.
  3. An online course is boring! Imagine sitting for hours in front of a computer! With no person-to-person interaction the client will surely become bored and distracted.
  4. Online schools are very expensive. For the sake of convenience, individuals will pay up to four times the cost of a classroom program!

Over the past few years it appears that the courts are giving in to the relentless march of technology and are allowing everyone, not just those in remote areas, to just take the easy road and do an online course.

zzzzzzzzzzThis is an alarming trend and not just because of above mentioned issues. A DUI is an intervention. It is a chance, often our only chance, to get between an individual and their behaviors. To help them consider what they have been doing, the impact upon others and themselves. When presented with insight, compassion and using the best and most current information available there is a real chance to help people consider a change in behavior. This is especially true when the class is presented by an instructor that is passionate and motivated to help others affect that change. This, I can assure you, is a world away from what is presented by an online course.

There are a number of people, many within the counseling community, that doubt the value of education in substance related treatment. They view the DUI School as a money making scheme that involves clients paying outrageous sums to watch boring movies. Unfortunately, there are providers that fit this description and they should be ashamed of themselves. We show a bare minimum of video in our classroom and devote in excess of the DMV required time to actual hands on lecture. To tell the truth, the biggest offender in this area, is the cash machine known as the online DUI School.

How important is all this really? Well, if you visit the morgue here in Reno you will find that a steady stream of our neighbors, husbands, wives, sons and daughters are finding their way there as a result of the actions of a drunk driver.  That intervention, that DUI class, is a precious moment. It is just a brief moment of time in the life of a DUI offender. And yet, if properly done, it can save the life of someone you love.

Contact the courts and tell them how you feel. You could save a life.


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