A Review of New York State's STOP-DWI Program

III. METHODS

The purpose of this report is to provide a review of the New York STOP-DWI program, including:

  1. an examination of the mission, goals, and program components of STOP-DWI;

  2. an examination and description of the social and political context of STOP-DWI, and the historical and modern trends associated with its implementation; and

  3. a discussion of what critical STOP-DWI program elements the State has continuously funded in its efforts towards further reducing alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.

Note: The alcohol-related fatality data used for this report was retrieved from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or nonoccupant (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a BAC of .01 grams per deciliter or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality. However, the term “alcohol-related” does not indicate that a crash or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol.

Beginning with the 2001 FARS data, NHTSA began using multiple imputation to estimate missing BAC values. The old estimation method used by NHTSA calculated the chance that a driver, pedestrian, or a pedalcyclist with unknown or missing alcohol results had a BAC in each of the three categories: .00, .01 to .09, or .10 and higher. Multiple imputation offers NHTSA significant advantages over the old method in analyzing and reporting estimates of alcohol involvement. Instead of estimating alcohol involvement by the three aforementioned categories, the new method estimates BAC along the entire range of plausible values (.00 to .94 g/dL). Estimating missing BAC levels this way enables NHTSA to report the extent of alcohol involvement at any BAC level.

The purpose of the project was defined during meetings with the administrator and the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Budget Management Team in October and November 2003. The New York STOP-DWI Evaluation Project team was assembled in November 2003. The majority of data for this process evaluation were collected from November 2003 through May 2004.

This review of the STOP-DWI Program represents 58 programs, one described as New York City, serving 62 counties in the State of New York. For administrative (and geopolitical) reasons, the New York City counties are managed by one program comprised of five boroughs: Manhattan (New York County), The Bronx, Brooklyn (Kings County), and Queens and Staten Island (Richmond County). (Roughly 42 percent of the State’s 19 million population resides in the five boroughs of New York City.)

The team employed multiple methods to conduct the review. First, numerous NHTSA and STOP-DWI program documents were analyzed, including legislative and other public records, contract and budget documents, media releases and reports, program plans, technical and program reports, and scientific publications (refer to References and Documents Analyzed).

Second, site visits were performed in December 2003. The team conducted a site visit to the NHTSA Eastern Office in White Plains on December 2, 2003. At this meeting, representatives from the agency, the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany, and several STOP-DWI county programs were present. Another site visit was conducted December 17-19, 2003, in Albany at the offices of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and ITSMR. Two team members participated in each site visit, which incorporated fact-finding efforts, individual meetings and roundtable discussions with over 20 representatives from STOP-DWI programs and community and local leaders in impaired-driving prevention, including the New York State Police. Topics discussed included impaired driving goals and objectives, annual STOP-DWI program implementation, local administration among other areas surrounding New York’s experience with impaired driving, and its STOP-DWI law.

State and county level data about DWI/DWAI arrests, DWI/DWAI convictions, motor vehicle crashes, vehicle registrations, driver licenses, and program activities from the counties, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and sociodemographic data from the United States Census Bureau, were collected and analyzed. Dual entry was performed to ensure data quality and no errors were found. Data to describe State and national trends were obtained from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For meaningful analysis of the program, motor vehicle crash and criminal justice data, the New York Stop-DWI programs are organized into four groups by county population: > 500,000; 250,000-499,999; 100,000-249,999; and < 100,000. The resident population serves as the basis for the four-group model, and means and ranges, as well as budget per capita, are used to characterize the four groups for useful comparison by another community or region. To calculate the budget per capita, the four county groups were weighted proportionally. For example, the high population group (6 county programs) represents 10 percent of the 58 programs. Therefore, averaging county program budgets for this group equals an average $1.10 ($6.8/6). Finally, the $1.10 was multiplied by 10 percent (weight) to calculate the weighted budget per capita ($0.11). The rationale for organizing the review using population is that population impacts the incidence of crashes and ultimately the number of tickets, arrests and convictions (from which the budget is derived). Budget detail was presented in Tables 4 and 5.

Techniques used in this review include the use of multiple methods, the inclusion of individuals and groups representing different disciplines and organizations and the diversity in the team member backgrounds and expertise. Limitations of the review include selection bias and other limitations associated with interviews. Resources precluded face-to-face interviews at all STOP-DWI Program sites.

The project team was comprised of Mary D. Gunnels (team leader) and Dee Williams. Sami Richie of NHTSA’s Eastern Region was the Regional Liaison for this New York State project.