Contact: Becky Iannotta
Drugged driving is a growing problem but alcohol threat is far from being eradicated
WASHINGTON (July 11, 2018) — Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Colleen Sheehey-Church testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection on the issue of drug-impaired driving.
“Drugged driving is a serious issue and one that is gaining attention across the country,” said Sheehey-Church. “We know that the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana, the national opioid crisis and the growing use of prescription drugs will increase drugged driving.”
Sheehey-Church cautioned that while drugged driving is a growing problem, recent headlines stating drugs have overtaken drunk driving in terms of number of deaths is not true. Alcohol-impaired driving remains the number one killer on the nation’s highways, causing more than 10,000 deaths every year. Sheehey-Church pointed to research from the National Academy of Sciences and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that clearly shows alcohol remains the biggest threat to our roadways.
“The good news is that the best way to combat drug-impaired driving is to do more impaired driving enforcement,” Sheehey-Church said. MADD believes that stopping drunk and drugged driving begins with strong law enforcement. Sheehey-Church encouraged the Energy and Commerce Committee to work with law enforcement across the country to emphasize the importance of traffic enforcement.
MADD called for more police training through programs like Standardized Field Sobriety Checkpoints, Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection Enforcement, and the Drug Recognition Expert Program.
Finally, MADD called for more research and data for drugged driving to help define and identify the impairing effects of legal and illegal drugs, and to better understand the number of drivers involved in drug-impaired driving crashes.
“MADD serves drunk and drugged driving victims every day,” said Sheehey-Church. “We want these victims to know that we are working hard to stop these senseless and 100 percent preventable crimes.”
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 more than 350,000 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.