DUI Attorneys Talk About Brain Function Of Repeat DUI Offenders & Their Behavioral Patterns
As any Houston DUI attorney will attest, it has been roughly three decades since the general public started gaining awareness of a developing danger across American highways and byways. Far more motorists than ever were found to be taking to the roads after having too much to drink. Too often, these drivers were utterly unable to drive in a safe and conscientious manner ultimately causing catastrophic injuries and fatalities. The tragic part is that in a great deal of these scenarios, the victims were not those who operated a car while intoxicated.
The Dangerous Effects Drinking Has On The Human Brain
Influential individuals in the local and national policy realms began attempting to bring about a reversal of this alarming trend by instituting educational initiatives designed to publicize just how dangerous this practice was then and continues to be now. Statutes were passed by legislatures nationwide that produced stringent penalties for those found guilty of drunk driving. Incarceration, heavy fines, and mandatory treatment became typical in such cases. Despite these important and indeed laudable efforts, there have always been those determined to drive after drinking to excess. More frustrating is the fact that a number of those offenders ultimately make the same mistakes and once again drive while under the influence of alcohol. Though the sanctions for repeat offenders tend to be tougher, their deterrent intent does not always achieve the desired result.
A coterie of scientists decided to ascertain precisely why this type of repeat behavior occurs among drunk drivers, finding that many such individuals are characterized by cognitive defects that adversely impact their decision-making faculties. The study itself was eventually published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Through the course of the study, scientists had as their subjects a group of 34 male drivers who had been found guilty of a second DUI offense and who were participating in an alcohol rehab program. There was also a control group of 31 individuals who had not committed this type of offense. Psychiatric testing and traditional neuropsychological assessments were performed on each group, including the Iowa Gambling Task study. The testing found that the subjects who were guilty of driving drunk on multiple occasions showed diminished performance on the IGT test when compared to the control subjects. No distinctions were seen between the DUI group and the control group in terms of character, temperament, and neuropsychological tests.
Motor Impulse Control Problems
In the end, these results seem to indicate that drivers who drive drunk on several occasions are not lacking in motor impulse control problems in at-the-moment situations. Rather, they are marked by cognitive-type impulsiveness, something which relies on the association between negative events and potential ramifications. With roughly a third of DUI offenders being repeat violators, it is critical to gain an understanding of what happens in the brains of those who decide to engage in this type of conduct.