What is the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program?
The Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) arose in the 1970s to address driving under the influence (DUI) and general highway safety. At that time, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation to expand VASAPs across the state.
The General Assembly also approved a cost-efficient manner to fund VASAPs. Essentially, each local VASAP is allowed to collect fees for services rendered. Furthermore, many drunk drivers are required to complete education courses at their local VASAP. Between the fees from drunk drivers and grant money, VASAPs are completely self-sufficient from a financial standpoint.
Today, there are 24 state programs within the VASAP umbrella. The overarching goal of each local VASAP centers on highway safety. To achieve this goal, the local chapters focus on five core components. The following sections will provide an overview of key considerations for each VASAP core component, starting with enforcement.
Each VASAP chapter works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement to help minimize DUI-related incidents. By providing law enforcement with advanced equipment and training, each chapter helps contributes to the fight against drunk and impaired drivers.
Switching gears from VASAP enforcement considerations, the second core component centers on adjudication.
The VASAP chapters are also involved in the legal process for DUI offenses. By working directly with law enforcement and the courts, VASAPs help DUI offenders complete their educational and probation requirements.
If a DUI offender violates the terms of their probation, then law enforcement and the courts work in tandem with the local VASAP to develop an appropriate response. In most cases, the penalties for DUI increase based on the violation of probation.
Moving past VASAP adjudication matters, the third core component involves case management and offender intervention.
- Case Management & Offender Intervention
After a DUI conviction, a case manager reviews the offender’s file. Based on the circumstances of the offense, the case manager decides on the required educational or treatment elements of probation. Moreover, the case manager oversees the completion of all probation requirements.
Having covered VASAP case management and offender intervention, the fourth core component concerns public information.
- Public Information
VASAPs play an essential role in DUI education across Virginia. Local chapters prepare and distribute materials that explain the risks of DUI in clear-cut terms. These local programs are also heavily involved in local community efforts designed to prevent drunk or impaired driving.
Armed with an understanding of the VASAP role in public information, the next section will address evaluation and certification.
- Evaluation and Certification
A centralized VASAP authority oversees the efforts of all local VASAPs. By employing standardized criteria for evaluation and certification, the overarching VASAP authority ensures efficient operation of all local programs.
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