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Dingell Releases Updates to Drunk Driving Bill

Washington, September 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) released updates to her legislation to reduce drunk driving deaths across the country. The updated legislation, the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act, will require the commercialization and standards for passive alcohol detection systems in all new cars.

In January, Dingell first announced legislation  to take action to prevent drunk driving. The Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act came after a Michigan family was tragically killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver while returning from a family vacation. Dingell honored their lives on the house floor and pledged action to reduce drunk driving accidents.

“Drunk driving has brought pain to my community in Dearborn and the country,” said Dingell. “Change and progress never come as fast as we’d like, but we need to do everything we can to ensure what happened to the Abbas family never happens again. The DADSS technology has the potential to save lives. The HALT Drunk Driving Act honors the Abbas’ family legacy by exploring the use of passive alcohol detection technology in all new cars. I’m committed to continuing to work with advocacy groups, industry, and federal regulators so we can ensure the tragedy of the Abbas family is the last tragedy caused by drunk driving.”

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is an innovative technology that passively tests drivers intoxication. The technology does not require action from the driver, such as blowing into a breathalyzer, but will prevent the car from moving if tests for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are above 0.08 percent – the legal limit in all 50 states except Utah.

“For over a decade, MADD has supported and promoted research and development of advanced drunk driving prevention technologies,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “This technology could save 7,000 lives every year. We can’t afford to wait any longer for this safety feature to be equipped in all cars.” 

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 Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) 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 DADSS 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.

The text of the HALT Drunk Driving Act is available here.

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