WASHINGTON — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is proud to support Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan as she introduces federal legislation that would make advanced alcohol detection technology a standard feature on all new vehicles and fund a government test fleet of vehicles equipped with this technology.

Congresswoman Dingell announced her legislation on Wednesday during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.  This follows a horrific drunk driving crash in Kentucky that claimed the lives of an entire family traveling home to Michigan from a Florida vacation. The Abbas family, a father, mother, and their three children, were all killed and were residents of Michigan’s 12th Congressional district.

“Drunk driving stubbornly remains the number one killer on America’s roads, taking a life every 48 minutes,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “Technology can help to eliminate this violent, senseless crime. We are grateful to Congresswoman Dingell for her leadership and relentless commitment to finding solutions that will stop these tragedies.”

In testimony before the committee in March, Witty called for advanced alcohol detection technology to be installed and tested on the government’s fleet of vehicles. Testing on the large fleet could expedite the ability to transfer the technology to vehicles which are available to consumers. She also asked for rulemaking that would make this technology standard on new vehicles.

For over a decade, MADD has supported and promoted a program to research and develop passive advanced alcohol detection technologies. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this technology could save over 7,000 lives per year. MADD has challenged the auto industry to commercialize these devices to make them widely available to their customers, and Rep. Dingell’s legislation would ensure that this happens.

“Drunk driving is the single largest cause of traffic fatalities – and July is the deadliest month for drunk driving,” said Dingell. “In January, our community was devastated by the passing of the Abbas family. Around the country, too many will be torn away from their families and loved ones because of the stupid actions of others. Drunk driving is avoidable and preventable. Congress, industry, and safety groups must work together and do everything we can to enhance safety and stop drunk driving.”

Advanced alcohol detection technology is a key element of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The other elements include support for high-visibility law enforcement such as sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, and taking personal responsibility for always choosing a non-drinking driver when plans include alcohol.

“Since 2014, drunk driving deaths have increased by 9%. And for the past two years in a row, almost 11,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes,” Witty said. “This is a public safety crisis. We cannot afford to wait any longer to get this technology in cars and start saving lives.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save nearly 380,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

 

CONTACT: Becky Iannotta, 202-600-2032, becky.iannotta@madd.org