MADD President Calls for Summit of Traffic Safety Leaders to Renew Focus on Proven Solutions
Leader says some states are no longer making progress, and are instead backsliding
Anna Duerr, MADD
Orlando, Fl. (June 14, 2012) – During a keynote address today at the 30th Anniversary Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Jan Withers called for a summit of traffic safety leaders to renew the focus on proven traffic safety solutions.
“MADD is prepared to call a summit meeting of leading traffic safety organizations and companies committed to keeping our roads safe. This summit would focus on a practical and realistic national traffic safety action plan that has all of us moving in the same direction, assuring that we save the most lives in the shortest time period,” said Withers.
“We need to commit ourselves to working together to support the strongest laws on all issues — drunk driving, distraction, belt use, child seats, teens — the best enforcement of those laws, and broad awareness by the driving public that unsafe behavior will not be tolerated,” Withers added.
Withers cited MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® as an example of success as a result of science-based solutions. The Campaign has helped require ignition interlocks for all offenders in 17 states, up from just one since its inception in 2006, and every state now has some form of ignition interlock law.
MADD has also advocated for support of technology — the Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety (DADSS) — that would secure the future by preventing drunk drivers from starting their vehicles. Thousands of lives would be saved each year with implementation of this advanced in-vehicle technology.
“If the driver has a BAC of .08 or higher, the illegal level in all 50 states, the vehicle would not be operable by the driver. In fact, unless a driver is drunk, he or she won’t know that the technology is even in the car,” said Withers. She added that the progress to date on the DADSS technology “is remarkable, yet more research and testing need to be done. This is truly game-changing technology,” and MADD urges Congress to pass pending legislation, which would assure the research program’s continued viability.
MADD plans to reach out to many of the traffic safety groups at the Lifesavers Conference to formulate the traffic safety summit. As Withers said in her keynote address, “We must take a comprehensive approach and focus on the countermeasures that will help use our safety resources in the most cost-beneficial way. And we must reject doing the things that feel good, but do no good.”
A full transcript of Withers’ speech is available at http://www.madd.org/media-center/2012-lifesavers-speech.html.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents™ to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
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