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Dingell: Time for Congress to Take Action to Prevent Drunk Driving

Today, during a hearing on improving vehicle technology to prevent drunk driving, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) called on Congress to take action to save lives. Dingell urged the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee to hold the hearing after the Abbas family from Michigan were tragically killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.

Video of the hearing is available here and here.

“Too many people are dying on our roads because of the inexcusable behavior of other drivers. My community recently experienced the senseless, incomprehensible consequences and tragedy of a drunk driver,” said Dingell. “The Abbas family’s story isn’t new – it’s been repeated for years, over and over, and the time for Congress to act is now. Their deaths, and the thousands just like them, are avoidable and preventable. Nothing will bring back the Abbas family or the thousands we’ve lost so needlessly. Their lives were too important to forget. We need to make sure that their death is not in vain and address this challenge with action.”

In January, a Michigan family – Issam, Rima, Ali, Isabelle, and Giselle Abbas – were tragically killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver while returning from a family vacation. The wrong-way driver in the crash had a blood alcohol content (BOC) of .306, which is more than three times the legal limit. Dingell honored their lives on the house floor and pledged action by introducing the Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act which requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to set a federal motor vehicle safety standard that would require all new vehicles to be equipped with an ignition interlock device. DOT would have to complete this standard within one year.

Drunk driving is the number one cause of death on America’s roadways. More than 10,000 deaths—about 30 percent of all fatal crashes—are caused by drunk driving each year. The witnesses at Thursday’s hearing discussed a number of ways to address this problem and provided updates on research of new alcohol-detection technology. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS) Program is a private-public partnership is developing and testing technology that would not require any additional action – such as blowing into an interlock device – to prevent a drunk driver from starting a vehicle. The goal of the DADDS program is to develop technology that is accurate and precise at stopping drunk drivers while being unobtrusive and not creating any inconvenience to a sober driver.

A video of the entire hearing is available here.


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