Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Sober Driver Programme (SDP)



Implementer: Community Offender Services (COS), New South Wales Department of Corrective Services

Partners: Roads and Traffic Authority; Motor Accidents Authority

Program Overview: Sober Driver Programme (SDP) is a program that aims to reduce recidivism rates among repeat drink drive offenders by promoting participants’ understanding of the effects of drink driving on the self and the community at large, and by assisting participants to develop skills, strategies and knowledge to apply in future situations to prevent re-offending.

Program Design: The program has two delivery modes. The standard version consists of nine weekly 2-hour sessions. The condensed version was developed to address the needs of rural participants and consists of three weekly 6-hour sessions.

-The program addresses issues such as the consequences of drink driving to the self and others, effects of alcohol on driving, managing drinking situations, alternatives to drinking and driving, relapse prevention, and stress management.

-SDP incorporates a group cognitive behavioral approach to modify cognitions and to facilitate behavior change by providing participants with the opportunity to develop appropriate skills and strategies.

-The program adopts an interactive approach and incorporates a range of learning techniques including instructor-led presentations, group work, non-didactic class discussions, audiovisual slides and short videos and trigger montages.

Evaluation: The evaluation design included a comparison of recidivism rates over 2 years for SDP participants (n=1,740) and a community control group of convicted drink drivers who received legal sanctions alone (n=9,667). Quantitative and qualitative surveys of SDP participants were also conducted before, immediately after, and 4 months after the program.

-Outcome measures included drink driving recidivism, change in participant knowledge and attitudes, self-reported behavioral intentions and skill development.

Key findings: In 2-year follow-up,SDP participants were 43% less likely to re-offend (4.9% did) compared with community controls who received sanctions alone (10.2% reoffended).

- SDP participants also demonstrated improved knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding drink driving.

Program Website: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/offences-penalties/drug-alcohol/sober-driver-program.html 


Mills, K.L., Hodge, W., Johansson, K., & Conigrave, K.M. (2008). An outcome evaluation of the New South Wales Sober Driver Programme: a remedial programme for recidivist drink drivers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27(1), 65-74. 

Target Audience: Drink driving offenders
Issues: Drinking and Driving
Setting: Remedial Drink Driving Programs
Approach: Life Skills
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