FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), Opposing Legislation to Stop Impaired Driving Prevention Technology Rulemaking
Dangerous bill would halt progress towards game-changing vehicle safety technology.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) strongly opposes legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Braun (R-IN) and John Cornyn (R-TX), S.4647*, that would eliminate one of the most important safety provisions in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58). The IIJA, which was signed into law last November, directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule requiring impaired driving prevention technology in new passenger motor vehicles by 2024. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that such technology could save more than 9,000 lives every year if widely deployed. S.4647 would halt progress toward requiring this lifesaving technology as standard equipment and must be rejected by Congress.
This legislation is being introduced at a time when preventable drunk driving deaths are on the rise in the U.S. In 2020, 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites drunk driving as one of the main factors behind recent increases in road deaths, estimated to have reached nearly 43,000 last year. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also has consistently listed preventing impaired driving on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.
Advocates worked hand-in-hand with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Congressional champions including Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL) and Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and David McKinley (R-WV), and other safety organizations to ensure a technology solution to this persistent public safety threat was included in the IIJA. S. 4647 would throw this progress in reverse, leave an innovative technological solution dormant and imperil all road users to the 100 percent preventable danger of impaired driving.
*At the time of this release, bill text is not publicly available. This statement is responsive to the bill description posted here.
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.