DUI Task Force
Health Promotion & Prevention Resources
Here are some great groups and organizations working hard in our community promoting healthy behaviors that have a connection with safer driving behaviors.
The Healthy Missoula Youth Coalition works to empower youth to make choices that positively impact their health around substances.
The Think Twice mission is to reduce the intoxicated driving rate by helping people make more informed decisions. It is common to hear people say they “feel” they're below the Legal Limit, but for most of us, it is difficult to know for sure. When a single-use, reliable breathalyzer test is made widely available to the public we have given everyone an opportunity to think twice about drinking and driving.
Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) works at improving and protecting the health, well-being, and self-reliance of all Montanans. Information pertaining to Children & Families, Disabilities, Seniors, Health, Medical, and Assistance can be found on their website.
The Missoula Prescription Drug (Rx) Task Force was created in 2014 in response to growing concern about the rise in prescription drug and opioid misuse and abuse in Missoula County. This collaborative group, housed under the Missoula City-County Health Department, has representatives from local law enforcement; the medical field (pharmacy, pain, and nursing); treatment, harm reduction, and recovery organizations; as well as other concerned organizations and citizens.
Western Montana Mental Health Center (WMMHC) provides comprehensive health services and housing options to people of all ages facing mental health and substance use disorders. They meet you where you are and they do not turn away. WMMH will promote well-being and inspire hope and meaningful life choices by providing integrated behavioral health services and building community partnerships in Montana.
Curry Health Center provides quality, affordable, accessible health care for students at the University of Montana. We promote a healthy campus by treating students with dignity and respect and through collaborating and sharing our expertise with others.
A word about our prevention strategies and tactics
Traditional DUI prevention messages:
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
DUI - You Can't Afford It
Drive Hammered, Get Nailed.
Messages that use the words, "Stop" or "Don't."
"Under some conditions, well-executed mass media campaigns can contribute to a reduction in drunk-driving-related crashes" (Atkin et al., 1984; Elder et al., 2004). However, "the intense fear or anxiety aroused by depicting dire consequences of drunk-driving can deter some drivers, but can also cause other drivers to deliberately avoid or discount the
messages and render the message ineffectual" (Dejong & Atkin, 1995). Therefore some messaging can cause what is called Psychological Reactance in the minds of the intended audience. Psychological Reactance is "an unpleasant motivational arousal that emerges when people experience a threat to or loss of their free behaviors. Reactance - the motivation to regain a freedom after it has been lost or threatened - leads people to resist the social influence of others." (Steindl et al., 2015)
These negative style messages often result in a "Don't tell me what to do. I'll do what I want." response and often result in the exact behavior they intended to prevent.
Our goal, with our DUI Prevention Messaging, is to follow a more "Positive Culture Framework" based on the training, guidance, and philosophies of the Center for Health & Safety Culture based at Montana State University. This means we hope to see more substantial results by highlighting the "Good Driving Behaviors" that are already in existence within our community. It's like featuring, highlighting, and rewarding the good behaviors in an effort to demonstrate what to do versus highlighting and punishing people for their bad driving behaviors as "What not to do."
How does this work in the real world? It's like animal training. Reward the desired behavior, and eventually, they learn to "want" to do the desired action. If you only punish the animal for their mistakes, they will only adopt the desired behavior out of fear of being punished. Once the fear of punishment is removed the undesirable behaviors could return. Hmmm, I wonder what we can learn from Reward Training vs Discipline-Based Dog Training?
Elder, R. W., Shults, R. A., Sleet, D. A., Nichols, J. L., Thompson, R. S., & Rajab, W. (2004).Effectiveness of mass media campaigns for reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crashes: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine,27(1), 57–65.
The Questions that Drive Us
What's the problem?
What's the cause of the problem?
If we address the cause, will this fix the problem?
What if we look at the root of the cause?
How was the root allowed to grow and flourish?
What if we go back even further and find the seed planted that caused the root to grow?
How do we prevent other seeds from being planted?
Should we address the source of the seeds?
At what point in this process could the least amount of effort be used to fix the problem?
Is this where we start?
Would our efforts cause a different problem?
Would our efforts help fix a seemingly unrelated problem?
Perhaps a minor intervention or simple tweak could be the solution to the problem, yes? What if that works with one problem, but not the other, then what? We assume that one size does not fit all.
We clearly don't know all the answers because the traffic safety problems our society experiences still exist. We have been trying to work our way back through these questions in an effort to solve some of our society's health and public safety issues, Issues that have typically existed in what has been called the "Prevention World." Let's prevent DUIs, drug use, drinking...Stop this and don't do that. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Click It or Ticket! Sure, there is a ring to some of these sayings, but have they really been working?
We've all heard the saying, "If it's not broken, don't fix it." My response to that is usually, "Well, there is nothing wrong with a horse, but looking out in the parking lot, none of us rode a horse to work today. I only see cars and trucks out there. We must have found a better way to travel somehow."
That's what we are trying to do. We are trying to find a better way to increase safe driving behaviors. Safe driving behaviors like wearing seatbelts every time, always driving free from influences like alcohol, drugs, technology, distractions, and peer pressure.