10,100 Lives Would Be Saved When Advanced Auto Technology Standard Is Implemented
WASHINGTON – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is outraged by a proposal by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) to reverse a bipartisan law that will lead to impaired driving prevention technology in all new vehicles. Rep. Massie’s Amendment would defund the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act, named in honor of a family of five killed by a wrong-way drunk driver on I-75 in Lexington, KY, not far from the community Rep. Massie represents.
“My family was killed on a stretch of Kentucky highway by a driver whose BAC was nearly four times the legal limit. Technology would have saved them,” said Rana Abbas Taylor, whose sister Rima, brother-in-law Issam and their children, Ali, Isabella and Giselle, were killed on Jan. 6, 2019. “The number of people killed by impaired driving is rising at historic levels, and equipping all cars with technology that’s unobtrusive, passive and only obvious to an illegally impaired driver is a game-changer. I would like Congressman Massie to think about the many families that have been shattered and how many would be spared the unfathomable trauma my family has suffered.”
The HALT Act provision of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Section 24220, Public Law 117-58, IIJA) directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a safety standard to require new cars be equipped with impaired driving prevention technology, which could save more than 10,000 lives a year when implemented, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The HALT Act was led in the House by Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and in the Senate by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rick Scott (R-FL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
“The HALT Act takes important steps to keep drunk drivers off the road and prevent thousands of traffic fatalities and injuries per year. Rep. Massie’s statements that impaired driving technology would track driver location, monitor driver performance, or enable cars to shut themselves down in the middle of the road are blatantly false and an intentional mischaracterization of the law,” said Representative Dingell. “Massie’s amendment is an insult to every American who has been hurt by or lost loved ones to drunk driving, including the Abbas family. We have the technology now to save lives and we should not delay in implementing it.”
Since passage of the HALT Act, several misinformed reports have surfaced that the technology would include a “kill switch” for law enforcement to stop a vehicle. Several fact-checking organizations have since debunked that myth, including Associated Press, USA Today, Verify, Politifact and Snopes.
“MADD would not support a ‘kill switch’ that could be used by law enforcement to disable a vehicle or technology that tracks the driver’s location or collects, uses or stores any data that would compromise the privacy of vehicle occupants,” said MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “The technology is solely to prevent impaired drivers from illegally operating vehicles and causing deaths and injuries.”
The HALT Act has received broad support from a variety of organizations and industries, including Anheuser-Busch, the Beer Institute, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Governors Highway Safety Association, National Safety Council, Safe Kids Worldwide, and 13 major auto insurance companies including Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.
For more information, visit madd.org/haltact.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nonprofit leader in a movement to create a world where there are #NoMoreVictims of impaired driving. By working in collaboration with law enforcement to end underage drinking and all drunk and drugged driving, MADD has helped reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50%, saving more than 400,000 lives. The organization is a vocal advocate for tougher sentencing, new laws and new technology, including implementation of the Halt Act. MADD also has provided supportive services to nearly one million victims of drunk and drugged driving at no charge through local victim advocates and its 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. For more information or to make a donation, visit us at https://madd.org/and follow MADD on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.