MADD Calls on Congress and States to Take Action Following New CDC Report
MADD Urges Congress to Pass ROADS SAFE Act, and Urges States to Require Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers
Contact: Anna Duerr, MADD
DALLAS – On the heels of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Injury Center report showing the pervasiveness of drunk driving in America, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is calling on federal and state governments to pass legislation to eliminate drunk driving and save thousands of lives each year.
Today’s CDC Vital Signs report recommends ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, for all convicted drunk drivers as a proven, effective strategy to prevent drunk driving. As of this year, and as part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, all 50 states now have some form of ignition interlock law.
“MADD strongly agrees with the CDC’s recommendation of ignition interlocks as an important tool in the fight against drunk driving,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “MADD calls on states to strengthen their existing interlock laws by requiring all first-time convicted drunk driving offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle.”
Two of the states with reported drunk driving incidents well below the national average in the CDC’s report include Arizona and New Mexico, which are also states that have seen tremendous success in cutting drunk driving fatalities by 46 and 35 percent, respectively, after enacting all-offender ignition interlock laws.
While ignition interlocks are highly effective at reducing drunk driving recidivism among convicted drunk drivers, advanced in-vehicle technology known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) holds the promise of ending drunk driving on our roads. Currently in development, the DADSS technology would turn cars into the cure for drunk driving by automatically and seamlessly detecting if a driver is at or above the illegal limit of .08 BAC, at which point the car could not be driven. The CDC’s report shows that four million adults drank and drove in 2010, illustrating the need for the DADSS technology, which would save an estimated 8,000 lives a year.
“It is truly incredible to think about the potential lifesaving benefits of the DADSS technology,” added Withers. “As a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, I’m optimistic about the promise of in-vehicle technology that would make it impossible for any drunk driver to operate his or her vehicle. MADD urges Congress to pass the ROADS SAFE Act, which would provide funding for continued research of the DADSS technology.”
Launched in 2006, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for supporting high-visibility law enforcement activities such as sobriety checkpoints, requiring all convicted drunk drivers to ‘blow before they go’ using an ignition interlock, and turning cars into the cure for drunk driving through the development of advanced and seamless in-vehicle technology.