FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2021
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on the Introduction of Legislation to Advance Impaired Driving Prevention Technology
Every day 30 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. It can and must stop – today, legislation was introduced to accomplish this achievable goal.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) applauds Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI, 12th), Kathleen Rice (D-NY, 4th) and David McKinley (R-WV, 1st) for their leadership to significantly and substantially reduce the avoidable toll of deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving on our nation’s roadways. Today, they introduced The Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving Act (HALT Drunk Driving Act), based on language in the Moving Forward Act (116th Congress, H.R. 2) which was passed with bipartisan support by the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2020. The bill requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule five years after enactment compelling new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with advanced drunk driving prevention technology.
The horrific drunk driving crash that killed five members of the Abbas family in 2019 renewed national attention to this preventable plague which kills more than 10,000 people every year. Earlier this year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a study demonstrating that if impaired driving detection systems were required as standard equipment and widely deployed, more than 9,000 fatalities would be prevented each year. On the path to autonomous vehicles (AVs), which are incredibly complex and costly to develop as evidenced by the billions of dollars auto manufacturers have expended for a potential safety benefit in the long term, vehicles should be equipped with impaired driving prevention technology to save lives in the short term.
Between 1960 and 2012 vehicle safety technologies saved more than 600,000 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We need to look no further than the recent crash involving Tiger Woods whose life was saved at least in part by a seat belt, air bags and roof crush performance standards, all of which are required as standard equipment in cars. Technologies such as impaired driving prevention systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) could be saving lives now. Together with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and numerous other organizations, we urge Congress to swiftly advance the HALT Drunk Driving Act to get this technological “vaccine” into new cars to protect all road users.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.