The Texas Legislature has enacted a number of laws requiring alcohol ignition interlock devices for drivers convicted of alcohol-related offenses. Adult probation officers are charged with implementing and monitoring use of these devices by drivers, but often have not had formal training related to ignition interlock devices. Adult probation officers also deal with other aspects of illegal alcohol use, primarily driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses.
The goal of the alcohol ignition interlock project is to train probation officers in 10 to 12 Texas counties on monitoring the use of ignition interlock devices and the problems of alcohol-related violations. Planning has also begun to prepare additional trainers so that the program may be offered on an ongoing basis throughout the state. in addition, contacts will be made with other region 6 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states about providing the program in Louisiana, new Mexico, Oklahoma, Mississippi and the Indian nations.
The training consists of a three-hour alcohol section and a two-hour ignition interlock section. The alcohol section includes the following areas: alcohol laws related to traffic safety, effects of alcohol on humans, effects of alcohol on driving and risk, alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and screening for abuse. The ignition interlock section includes the following areas: background and technical information, Texas laws and regulations, facts and myths about devices, and removal and repairs.
Pre- and post-tests are given to evaluate material learned. Each person who successfully completes the course and passes the post-test receives a certificate, which can be used for in-service credit.