Congress Fully Endorses Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving On Eve of July 4th Holiday
--MADD's Campaign Recognized as the Blueprint for Success--
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Federal transportation legislation (Moving Ahead for Progress, or MAP-21) approved June 29 by Congress sets in motion federal safety policy that could lead to the elimination of drunk driving as the leading cause of highway fatalities.
"Drunk driving crashes increase significantly during the July 4th holiday making it one of the most deadly times to travel. MAP-21 is an historic opportunity to advance highway safety because we now have congressional approval on a blueprint for our nation to eliminate drunk driving," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "MADD thanks Senators Jay Rockefeller, Barbara Boxer, Tom Udall, Frank Lautenberg, and Bob Corker along with Representatives John Mica, Shelley Moore Capito, John Sarbanes, and Heath Shuler for championing this legislation."
The legislation includes bold new programs to incentivize states to pass all offender ignition interlock laws. The science behind these laws has been clear for some time, showing that they reduce repeat offenses by two-thirds. This new grant program will give states a financial incentive, as well as a moral obligation to pass these lifesaving laws. Currently, 16 states have ignition interlock laws aimed at all convicted drunk drivers.
In addition to ignition interlocks, the legislation authorizes the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS. "This authorization is critical," said Withers. "Not only does it guarantee the research for this project will continue to take place, it also has the potential to greatly accelerate lifesaving technology from the lab to the showroom where it can protect our families." DADSS is the result of a public/private partnership between the auto industry and the federal government with the goal of creating a passive in-vehicle detection system that can stop a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. This new technology would be unobtrusive and unnoticed by a sober driver.
The legislation does not contain a specific dollar amount for the DADSS program, but a total of approximately $10.7 million could be available for the program over the next two years.
Also in line with MADD's Campaign, the legislation continues funding for NHTSA's high visibility traffic safety law enforcement campaigns, which have proved to be successful. A national drunk driving prevention crackdown, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is being conducted through the end of this week, July 6.
"Law enforcement is on the front lines keeping our families safe from drunk drivers especially as the nation is gearing up for the 4th of July holiday," said Withers. "Research shows that law enforcement conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, coupled with NHTSA's highly publicized paid ads, saves lives."
The July 4th holiday represents one of the most dangerous times on our highways. During the 2010 holiday, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a drunk driver, compared with 31 percent normally. "MADD's Campaign has the solution to stop these needless deaths and MAP-21 has helped further this critical blueprint for highway safety," said Withers.
"This is truly a historic time in the fight against drunk driving," said Withers. "The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving has shown substantial progress since it was launched in 2006. The provisions in this legislation will assure that this progress is accelerated. Thanks to Congress, we have the tools needed to end drunk driving."
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, It's Your Influence™ 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.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving