MADD Urges NHTSA to Meet HALT Drunk Driving Act Deadline within a Year
WASHINGTON – Lifesaving vehicle technology is one step closer to getting into all new cars now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Advanced Impaired Driving Technology. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) celebrates this major milestone toward equipping vehicles with technology that will prevent drunk driving and potentially other types of impaired driving, saving up to 10,100 lives per year when fully implemented.
“HALT was signed into law over two years ago. It is incomprehensible to me that the implementation of available technology, which saves lives, continues to be debated. Nearly 40 people are killed by drunk drivers every day on our roadways, and yet, we know technology can stop this,” said Rana Abbas Taylor, whose sister Rima, brother-in-law Issam and their children, Ali, Isabella and Giselle were killed by a drunk driver. “On behalf of my family and victims and survivors who fought for this, we urge NHTSA to expedite this new safety standard so that no family has to experience the anguish we have. This is a matter of life and death for thousands of families across the nation, and I’m grateful to Representative Debbie Dingell and Senator Ben Ray Luján for leading this effort.”
The horrific death of the entire Abbas family of five sparked the bipartisan legislation — named the Honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act – that was included as a provision in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The law gave NHTSA until November 15, 2024, to complete a rulemaking for drunk and impaired driving prevention technology as standard safety equipment in new vehicles. The law requires car manufacturers to integrate impaired driving prevention technology in new vehicles as soon as 2026.
Every 79 seconds, someone in the U.S. is killed or injured by an impaired driver. That fails to take into account the number of deaths and injuries caused by drivers who were impaired by other drugs, such as cannabis. Drunk driving deaths have increased by 35% over the past decade and 14% two years in a row, exceeding 13,000 deaths for the first time since 2007. In 2021, the economic impact of drunk driving crashes was $58 billion. Impaired driving prevention technology, when fully implemented, would save 10,100 lives a year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
MADD is pushing for the earliest possible final rulemaking and implementation.
“Everyone involved in this rulemaking process at NHTSA and everyone designing impaired driving prevention technologies at car companies need to understand that this is about saving human beings from the horror I’ve experienced and from the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of Americans,” said MADD National President Tess Rowland. “We must get this done. Lives are at stake.”
In May 2021, just months before the HALT Drunk Driving Act became law and before Rowland became involved with MADD, she was hit head-on by a drunk driver with drugs in the car. The crash occurred when Rowland was driving to her job as a television news reporter in Florida. The impact caused severe, life-threatening injuries, from which she is continuing to recover. First responders on the scene described her survival as a miracle and credited her car’s automatic emergency braking system with slowing down her car and lessening the impact of the crash.
“I am here today because my car saved my life, but I continue to deal with my injuries every single day,” Rowland said. “With the implementation of the HALT Act, auto safety technology will go even further to protect against these violent crashes from happening in the first place by stopping people who attempt to drive while drunk or impaired by other drugs.”
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.
Contact: Becky Iannotta, [email protected]/202.600.2032