Developing a Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS)

Developing a Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS)

Principal Investigators: Sarah Nelson, PhD & Howard Shaffer, PhD, CAS
Funder: The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Timeline: 2011 – 2018

Repeat DUI offenders can suffer from a number of psychiatric disorders, suggesting that untreated mental health issues contribute to the persisting rate of DUIs. To combat this pressing public health problem, the Division of Addiction developed the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS), a powerful, computerized mental health assessment tool and clinical report generator tool designed for DUI intervention and treatment settings. CARS enables DUI facility staff to screen DUI offenders and target interventions to address comorbid mental health issues. The Division conducted usability trials of CARS and a randomized controlled trial comparing three versions of CARS against intake as usual at DUI programs in Massachusetts. When FAAR extended its contract with the Division in 2015, we collaborated to pilot CARS on a national scale. In Spring 2016, the Division began site selection of the five programs across the U.S. that will serve as the initial CARS pilot sites.