Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Gill Woodall, is the Principal Investigator leading a new research project aimed at reducing intoxicated driving by people with court-ordered ignition interlock devices (IIDs) through improved communication and support from family members.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) remains a substantial and preventable source of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. The IID, which requires a driver to blow into a breathalyzer unit installed in an automobile to establish sobriety, reduces drunk driving while installed. However, research has shown that once IIDs are removed from DWI offenders’ cars, DWI recidivism levels return to those comparable to offenders who did not have an IID installed.
This new project will fully develop and evaluate B-SMART — smartphone technology to teach coping skills, communication skills, and strategies to help deter DWI. Unique to this intervention are the involvement of family members in supporting the DWI offender to not drink and drive, English and Spanish language options, and the use of smartphone technology to make that support immediate, accessible, and diffusible. The core content of the intervention is based on empirically-validated couples therapy curriculum developed by Dr. Barbara McCrady from the University of New Mexico. It will be adapted for concerned DWI offender family members and delivered through a convenient smartphone web app platform. Programming and usability testing will be done by KB designers and developers.
Results of a Phase I feasibility study of an initial module of B-SMART presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism by Dr. Woodall in 2016, showed very positive reactions by users. Thirty-two concerned family members of DWI offenders browsed the communication skills module of B-SMART and then rated the module on the System Usability Scale (SUS – Bangor, et al., 2011). Results indicated an average SUS rating of 44.2 (sd=4.78, scale range: 10-50), with 87% of participants rating the B-SMART module 40 or above. These results indicate that users found the prototype B-SMART module easy to use, informative, and very positive.
For the new Phase II evaluation, a randomized efficacy trial will be conducted with DWI offenders and their concerned family members recruited through the New Mexico court system. The research is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R44AA022850) through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. Dr. Woodall’s scientific collaborators include Ms. Julia Berteletti from KB, Dr. Barbara McCrady and Dr. Vern Westerberg from the University of New Mexico, and Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagorus, Inc. in Alabama.