Beaverton’s B-SOBR Program

Beaverton, Oregon has founded and developed a program that will assist drunk drivers in overcoming the obstacle of alcoholism. Beaverton Sobriety Opportunity for Beginning Recovery, or B-SOBR as it is referred to for short, has been active for more than a year now, and is funded through a renewable grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. This program works to solve the fundamental issue that is drunk driving by not just punishing the drunk drivers, but helping them recover from alcoholism. They realize that while drunk driving is a problem, it is also the result of a dependency on alcohol for most convicted drunk drivers.

Beaverton processes about 600 DUII cases each year, and what they have realized with repeat offenders is the poor decision making is not always the biggest part of the problem. As one local judge said, “they have cars, they won’t stop driving, and they can’t stop drinking.” Realizing this helped Beaverton develop a program that will help drunk drivers with the root of their problems, alcoholism. B-SOBR combines a number of resources for drunk drivers. These resources include: weekly meetings with a caseworker, regular court appearances, random urinalysis, impromptu police visits at home, detection bracelets, required Alcoholics Anonymous attendance, and documentation of your recovery progress.

One of the program’s participants has said that the program leaves no room for relapse. He also mentions that the success of this program has been better for him than anything he has experienced in the past. He said after his first two DUIIs he was able to evade the monitoring and continue to get drunk. However, with the B-SOBR program he has been sober for 17 months. This is just one participant’s account of the program but it shows the success of B-SOBR, and all that it stands for.

Repeat offenders usually get sentenced to one-year in jail, and this removes them from the road, but offers them very little in long-term recovery. This program offers a consistent contact with offenders, who need assistance with the root of the problem: their drinking. This year will mark the first graduating class of the B-SOBR program, and there are currently 22 participants in their first 90 days of the program. One participant remarked that jail did not work, because you spend the entire time waiting to get out and get another drink. This program instead mentors these DUII offenders through their problems and helps them resolve those issues.

The B-SOBR program certainly has its critics, but every program is going to have critics. B-SOBR rehabilitates drunk drivers, and helps them prevent the drunk driving from happening again because it helps these offenders stop drinking, and in turn never get behind the wheel drunk again. This far it seems like the B-SOBR program is working, and going forward it could potentially help many drivers with the bigger problem, and that is their drinking problem.