Driver Risk Inventory-2

Driving under the influence (DUI) -- also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) -- is essentially operating a vehicle while under the effects of alcohol, or other drugs. Over the last few decades, many states have implemented tougher laws, which have increased the number of impaired drivers passing through state DUI/DWI systems.

DUI/DWI offenders have varying degrees of risk. Some may have substance abuse or dependency problems. Others may be risky drivers in general, whether they have substance-related problems or not. Perceived stress levels and stress management also factor into driver risk and substance involvement. With the Driver Risk Inventory-2 (DRI-2), DUI/DWI offender's driver risk and relevant, co-occurring factors are summarized and presented in one, accurate, and easily-interpreted report. DRI-2 test users include DUI/DWI evaluators, probation departments, corrections departments, attorneys, and treatment staff, as well as counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.

The six DRI-2 scales (measures) are: 1) Truthfulness Scale, 2) Alcohol Scale, 3) Drug Scale, 4) DSM-5-Substance Use Disorder, 5) Driver Risk Scale, and 6) Stress Management Scale. These scales are described in detail on the Scale Description link.

The Truthfulness Scale is a unique feature of the DRI-2. Socially desirable responding can have a significant impact on assessment results (Blanchett, Robinson, Alksnis & Serin, 1997). Offender denial and problem minimization has been shown to exacerbate lack of treatment progress (Murphy & Baxter, 1997; Scott & Wolfe, 2003) and increased probability of treatment dropout (Daly & Peloski, 2000), as well as increased probability of recidivism (Knopp, Hart, Webster & Eaves, 1995; Grann & Wedin, 2002). One of the first major psychological tests to use a truthfulness scale and truth-corrected scores, was the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which has become the most widely used test in the United States and, likely, in the world. The MMPI's truth-correction methodology has been influential in psychometrics ever since. The DRI-2 Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the Alcohol Scale, Driver Risk Scale, Drug Scale, and Stress Management Scale. The DRI-2 truth-correction equation is similar to the MMPI's truth-correction procedure, and converts raw scale scores to truth-corrected scores. Truth-corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores. It is important to consider DUI/DWI offender truthfulness at the time of assessment. This is accomplished with the Driver Risk Inventory-2 (DRI-2).

As previously noted, the Driver Risk Scale is another unique feature of the DRI-2. This measures an individual's driver risk, independent of their involvement with alcohol or drugs. This scale is helpful in detecting the abstaining, yet irresponsible, aggressive driver. Some people are, simply, dangerous drivers. These individuals would benefit from driver education training. To adequately understand a DUI/DWI violator's driving risk, it is important to know their driver attitude, aggressiveness, and skills.

The evidence-based, DRI-2 has empirically-demonstrated reliability, validity, and accuracy and, is a popular and widely-used, DUI/DWI offender screening instrument, or self-report test. It was rated the best DUI/DWI assessment, or test, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA review noted that the DRI-2 was the only DUI/DWI offender assessment that incorporated a measure of driver risk. To read the NHTSA review of the DRI-2, in its entirety, click on the NHTSA Review link. The DRI-2 has been administered to over 1.75 million DUI/DWI offenders to date, and that number continues to grow. DRI-2-related studies have been published in peer review journals. In addition, the DRI-2 is currently being used in ongoing, longitudinal recidivism research. For interested parties, a list, of DRI-2 research publications is located at

The DRI-2 makes accurate, efficient, and timely DUI/DWI violator screening possible. In most counseling and treatment settings, clients are screened to determine the presence of problems, and if problems are present, to measure their severity. Contingent upon these assessment results, clients can then be referred to appropriate levels of intervention, or treatment. Research has shown that placing clients in erroneously intensive, or non-intensive programs, can be detrimental to both the client and society (Andrews, Bonta & Hoge, 1990). When low risk clients were placed in high risk (intensive) treatment programs, low risk clients had a higher likelihood of relapse. Low risk clients are better served in low intensity programs. Similarly, high risk (serious problems) clients benefit most, when placed in intensive treatment programs. The DRI-2 allows for appropriate matching, of DUI/DWI offender treatment with individual risk levels.

Tougher laws and increased awareness have helped to substantially decrease the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities in the United States, but other emerging trends, in impaired driving, have become problematic. Illicit drug use, as well as the availability and potency of these drugs, has increased in recent years. Another disturbing trend is driving under the influence of multiple substances (polysubstance impairment). In addition, the number of women who use alcohol has increased, significantly, over the last several decades, naturally leading to an increase in the number of female drinking drivers (White, 2003). The DRI-2 accounts for these trends. Not only does the DRI-2 measure alcohol use and the severity of abuse, the independent measure of drug use/abuse is also included. Poly-substance abuse is identified, when both Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale scores are problematic (at the 70th percentile or above). The DRI-2 has been standardized on both male and female impaired drivers. The expanding DRI-2 database is statistically analyzed each year. This feature represents a unique advantage of the DRI-2. As the DRI-2 database continues to grow, new research discoveries and innovative software updates are anticipated. Ongoing research and standardization ensure that the DRI-2 will remain at the forefront of DWI/DUI assessment and will accommodate current and future changes in substance use, as well as demographic trends. Gender differences have already been identified (and remedies developed) as a result of this research.

The DRI-2 consists of 113 test items and takes 25 minutes to complete. The DRI-2 is available on diskettes, USB flash drives, or on the internet ( Click on the Cost link, for pricing information. Tests can be administered in paper-pencil, test booklet format, or the respondent can complete the DRI-2 on a computer monitor. Regardless of how the DRI-2 is administered, fast and accurate computer-scoring and report printing are completed, within 2½ minutes.

The DRI-2 report is a comprehensive profile of a DUI/DWI offender. Scale scores are explained and presented graphically, and scale score-related recommendations are provided. Another useful component of the DRI-2 report, is the Significant Items. These are printed in Section 3 of the DRI-2 report. Significant items represent self-admissions, or important self-report responses. They are provided for reference and do not determine the respondent's scale score. A DUI/DWI offender can have a high scale score and few significant items, or vice versa. Significant items augment scale scores and, sometimes, provide a more complete and individualized understanding of the offender.

Confidentiality and Security

Client privacy and security is of the utmost importance. When using the DRI-2, you can rest assured, knowing that your client's privacy and confidentiality are safe. Any identifying information (name, ID numbers, etc.) is encrypted, before being stored in our database. A secure algorithm, built into the DRI-2 software, unencrypts this information, before displaying it to you over the web. This ensures that only you can access the data and reports for your clients. This encryption method is HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501) compliant.

Additionally, test users are encouraged to delete client names when their assessment process is completed. This proprietary, name deletion procedure involves a few keystrokes. Once names are deleted, they are gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting names does not delete demographics or test data, which is downloaded into the DRI-2 database, for subsequent analysis. This name deletion procedure insures confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA requirements. This proprietary software feature is provided to test users at no additional cost.

Additional Benefits and Services

A host of other, complimentary benefits and features are included with test purchase. For example, these benefits include:

  • Support Services
  • Test Upgrades
  • Annual Summary Reports (Program Summary)
  • Human Voice Audio
  • Scanner Scoring for high volume testing
  • Data Input Verification Feature
  • Available in English and Spanish (translation into other languages can be available upon request)

Learn more about the DRI-2 and its research applications, by clicking the DRI-2 Research link. View a DRI-2 Example Report, by clicking the Example Report link. The DRI-2 combines comprehensive, time saving, and accurate DUI/DWI screening, with affordability and convenience.


Andrews, D.A., Bonta, J. and Hoge, R.D. (1990). Classification for effective rehabilitation. Rediscovering Psychology. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 17, 19-52.

Blanchette, K. Robinson, D., Alksnis, C., Serin, R. (1997). Assessing Treatment Outcome Among Family Violence Offenders: Reliability and Validity of a Domestic Violence Treatment Assessment Battery. Correctional Service of Canada.

Murphy & Baxter, 1997. Motivating batterers to change in the treatment context. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 607-619.

Daly, J. & Pelowski, S. (2000). Predictors of dropout among men who batter: A review of studies with implications for research and practice. Violence and Victims, 15, 137-160. [Abstract].

Grann, M. & Wedin, I. (2002). Risk factors for recidivism among spousal assault and spousal homicide offenders. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 8, 5-23.

Kropp, P.R., Hart, S.D., Webster, C.D., & Eaves, D. (1995). Manual for the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (2nd ed.). Vancouver, Canada: B.C. Institute on Family Violence.

Scott, K.L. & Wolfe, D.A. (2003). Readiness to change as a predictor of outcome in batterer treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 879-889.

White, W.(2003). Management of the High-Risk DUI Offender. Retrieved from: duimonograph.pdf on September 12, 2011.

DRI-2 Scale Description

There are several levels of DRI-2 interpretation, ranging from viewing the DRI-2, as a self-report, to interpreting scale elevations and scale inter-relationships. The following table is a starting point, for interpreting DRI-2 scale scores.

Risk Catagory

Risk Range Percentile

Total Percentage

Low Risk

0 - 39%


Medium Risk

40 - 69%


Problem Risk

70 - 89%


Severe Problem

90 - 100%


Referring to the above table, a problem is not identified until a scale score is at the 70th percentile, or higher. Elevated scale scores refer to percentile scores that are at, or above the 70th percentile. Severe problems are identified by scale scores at, or above the 90th percentile. The DRI-II and the DRI-2 have been administered to over 1¾ million DUI/DWI offenders. And, this cumulative database continues to expand, with each DRI-2 test that is administered.

Scale Description

1. Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the DUI/DWI offender was while completing the test. It identifies guarded and defensive people who attempt to "fake good". Assessment results can be impacted by 'socially desirable responding' (Blanchett, Robinson, Alksnis, & Serin, 1997). Most DUI/DWI offender tests do not incorporate a measure of truthfulness (Bishop, 2011). Truthfulness Scale scores, at or below the 89th percentile, mean that all DRI-2 scale scores are accurate. When the DRI-2 Truthfulness Scale score is in the 70 to 89th percentile range other DRI-2 scale scores are accurate, because they have been Truth-Corrected. In contrast, when the Truthfulness Scale score is at, or above the 90th percentile, this means that all DRI-2 scales are inaccurate (invalid), because the DUI/DWI offender or respondent was overly guarded, read things into test items that weren't there, was minimizing problems, or was caught faking answers. If not consciously deceptive, offenders, with elevated Truthfulness Scale scores, are uncooperative (likely in a passive-aggressive manner), fail to understand test items, or have a need to appear in a good light. Truthfulness Scale scores at, or below the 89th percentile, mean that all other DRI-2 scale scores are accurate. One of the first things to check, when reviewing a DRI-2 report, is the Truthfulness Scale score.

2. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine, and other liquors. A recently-published study found that the Alcohol Scale percentile score was a strong predictor of DUI/DWI offender recidivism (Bishop, 2011). An elevated (70 to 89th percentile), Alcohol Scale is indicative of an emerging, drinking problem. An Alcohol Scale score, in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, identifies established and serious drinking problems. Elevated Alcohol Scale scores do not occur by chance.

Alcohol involvement can range from abstinence (non-drinking) to dependency (Maisto & Saitz, 2003). A history of alcohol problems (e.g., alcohol-related arrests, DUI/DWI convictions, etc.) could result in an abstainer (current non-drinker) attaining a low, to medium risk scale score. Consequently, safeguards have been built into the DRI-2, to identify "recovering alcoholics." For example, the offender's self-reported court history is summarized on the first page of the DRI-2 report. And, on page 3 of the report, the DUI/DWI offender's multiple choice (items 74 to 89) answers are printed for easy reference. The DUI/DWI offender's answer, to the "recovering alcoholic" question (item 84), is printed on page 3 of the DRI-2 report. In addition, elevated, Alcohol Scale paragraphs caution staff to determine if the offender is a recovering alcoholic. If recovering, how long? Obviously the DUI/DWI offender was arrested for a DUI or DWI.

Severely elevated Alcohol and Drug Scale scores indicate poly-substance abuse, and the highest score, usually, identifies the offender's substance of choice.

Scores, in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, are a malignant, prognostic sign. Concurrently, elevated Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, and Driver Risk Scale scores identify a particularly dangerous driver. Here, you have a person with poor driving skills, who is even further impaired, when drinking or using drugs.

In intervention and treatment settings, the offender's DRI-2 Alcohol Scale score can help staff work through offender denial. More people accept objective, standardized assessment results, as opposed to someone's subjective opinion. This is especially true when it is explained that the DRI-2 has been given to over one million DUI/DWI offenders, and that elevated scores do not occur by chance. The Alcohol Scale can be interpreted independently, or in combination with other DRI-2 scales.

3. Drug Scale: Measures drug use and severity of drug abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, ice, crack, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, barbiturates, and heroin. DUI/DWI can be defined as driving under the influence, of any alcohol or drugs (Nochajski & Stasiewicz, 2006). Dupont (2011) noted that, in a 2009 study, approximately one-third (33.0%) of drivers in fatal injury crashes (for whom drug test results were available), tested positive for drugs other than alcohol. An elevated (70 to 89th percentile) Drug Scale score identifies emerging drug problems. A Drug Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, identifies established drug problems and drug abuse.

A history of drug-related problems (e.g., drug-related arrests, prior DUI/DWI convictions, drug treatment, etc.) could result in an abstainer (current non-user) attaining a low to medium risk, Drug Scale score. For this reason, precautions have been built into the DRI-2, to insure correct identification of "recovering" drug abusers. Many of these precautions are similar to those discussed in the above Alcohol Scale description. And the DUI/DWI offender's answer, to the "recovering drug abuser" question (item 84), is printed on page 3 of the DRI-2 report.

Concurrently, elevated, Drug and Alcohol Scale scores are indications of polysubstance abuse, and the highest score reflects the offender's substance of choice. Very dangerous drivers are identified, when both the Drug Scale and the Driver Risk Scale are elevated. Any Drug Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, should be taken seriously. The Drug Scale can be interpreted independently, or in combination with other DRI-2 scales.

4. Substance Use Disorder Classification Scale: The Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-2) incorporates two methods, classification and dimensional scaling, for assessing substance use severity. The DRI-2 employs separate Alcohol and Drug Scales, each focusing independently and exclusively on alcohol or drug use. The DSM-5 on the other hand, blends alcohol and drug use in its Substance Use Disorder classification. DRI-2 scales use short-term, time referents, like recently or now; whereas, the DSM-5 uses longer term or, even, lifetime referents. The DRI-2 scales use percentile scores to measure risk severity. The DSM-5 classifies risk, using endorsement of 11 criteria/symptoms, classifying substance use problems, as mild, moderate, and severe. Researchers (Kessler, 2002; Kline, 2009) advocate using both types of measurement methods, in one test.

Substance Use Disorder Scale: Substance (alcohol/drug) use disorders span a wide variety of problems, arising from substance use, and cover 11 different criteria:

  1. Taking the substance (alcohol/drug) in larger amounts, or for longer than you meant to
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance, but not managing to
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance
  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance
  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school, because of substance use
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities, because of substance use
  8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger
  9. Continuing to use, even when the you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused, or made worse by the substance
  10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance)
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.


Kessler (2002, 2008) advocates using both “dimensional” and “categorical” measures in the same test. Dimensional measures use recent time frames (e.g., the past year, last month, or now), to measure the severity of alcohol and/or drug use. In contrast, categorical measures gather long term, or lifetime occurrence information, to help with treatment planning. DRI-2 Alcohol and Drug Scales are “dimensional,” whereas, DSM-5 uses both. Even so, DSM-5’s categorically-based measures can produce seemingly dissimilar results. For example, you could have a DRI-2 Alcohol or Drug Scale score in one severity range (e.g., low risk) and a DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder classification in another severity range (e.g., moderate risk). Contributing factors to these different severity classifications includes: Dimensional versus categorical measurement; the DSM-5’s Substance Use Disorder category incorporates both alcohol and drugs, whereas, the DRI-2 independently assesses alcohol and drugs; DSM-5 expunged, or deleted the term “abuse,” while the DRI-2 continues to use it; and, severity scale classification methodology differs. To sum up, DRI-2 Alcohol and Drug Scales enable matching of problem severity with treatment intensity, whereas, DSM-5 substance Use Disorder results can guide treatment planning.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states that there can be exceptions to DSM classifications and, these exceptions are made according to the severity of a person’s substance abuse. The severity of a person’s substance abuse determines their recommended level of intervention and/or treatment.

In summary, the Alcohol and Drug Scales measure severity of substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, whereas the Substance Use Disorder Scale classifies people as no problem, mild, moderate, or severe substance (alcohol/drug) use disorder.

5. Driver Risk Scale: Measures driving risk, e.g., aggressive, irresponsible, or careless drivers. This scale is independent of the Alcohol, Drug, and Substance Abuse/ Dependency Scales. Some people are, simply, poor drivers. Elevated (70 to 89th percentile), Driver Risk Scale scores identify problem prone drivers who would benefit from a driver improvement program. Severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) scorers are, simply, dangerous drivers. These are high probability, accident prone drivers. When the Driver Risk Scale and the Alcohol Scale and/or Drug Scale are elevated, a person's poor driving abilities are further impaired, by substance use, or abuse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the highest federal authority in the DUI/DWI field -- the DRI is the only, major DUI/DWI test that measures driver risk (Popkin, Kanneberg, Lacey, Waller,1988). Additionally, other tests do not identify abstaining (non-drinking and non-drug use), dangerous drivers.

The Driver Risk Scale provides considerable insight into offender driving behavior, and that is overlooked by other DUI/DWI tests. DUI/DWI offenders tend to have poorer driving records, both prior to, and after their DUI/DWI arrests (Cavialoa, Stohmetz & Abreo, 2007). The Driver Risk Scale can be interpreted independently, or in combination with the DRI-2 Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, and Stress Management Scale.

6. Stress Management Scale: Measures the DUI/DWI offender's ability to cope, effectively, with stress, tension, and pressure. How well a person manages stress, affects their driving safety. A recent study associated elevated stress levels of individuals in a particular region, with a spike in the number of fatal traffic accidents (Association for Psychological Science, 2009). Furthermore, the DRI-2 Stress Management Scale percentile score was found to be a recidivism predictor for DUI/DUI offenders (Bishop, 2011). A Stress Management Scale score in the elevated (e.g., problem risk) range, provides considerable insight into co-determinants, while suggesting possible intervention programs, like stress management. An offender scoring in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range should be referred to a mental health specialist for further evaluation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan.

We know that stress exacerbates emotional and mental health problems. The Stress Management Scale is a non-introversive way to screen for established, (diagnosable) mental health problems. Stress coping problems can have a direct impact on a person's driving.

A particularly unstable and perilous driving situation involves an elevated Stress Management Scale, with an elevated Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, or Driver Risk Scale. Poor driving abilities, along with substance abuse in an emotionally reactive person, who doesn't handle stress well operationally, defines a dangerous driver. The higher the elevation of these scale scores -- the worse the prognosis. The Stress Management Scale can be interpreted independently, or in combination with other DRI-2 scales.

In conclusion, it was noted that several levels of DRI-2 interpretation are possible. They range from viewing the DRI-2, as a self-report, to interpreting scale elevations and inter-relationships. Staff can, then, put a DUI/DWI offender's DRI-2 findings, within the context of the offenders driving situation.

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