WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott and Ben Ray Luján reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help prevent drunk driving and save thousands of lives. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act will promote the research and development of advanced alcohol and impaired driving detection technology and will require the implementation of such technology in new motor vehicles. U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell, David McKinley and Kathleen Rice introduced companion legislation, the HALT Act, in the U.S. House.
Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities represent approximately one-third of all highway fatalities in the U.S. every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 9,400 drunk driving deaths could be prevented each year if drunk driving prevention technology is made standard on every new vehicle. The RIDE Act is endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the National Safety Council, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), and Responsibility.org.
Senator Rick Scott said, “It is heartbreaking that we have lost so many to the irresponsible actions of drunk drivers, and it’s time to take real, significant action to prevent any further loss. I’m proud to continue leading this effort and promote the development of critical alcohol and impaired driving detection technology, which will be a huge step to protect our families and communities.”
Senator Ben Ray Luján said, “Drunk driving has brought pain into the homes of too many New Mexicans. Across the country, thousands of families mourn the loss of loved ones in drunk driving crashes that can be prevented with the deployment of cutting-edge technologies. This can change if Congress takes action, and that’s what the RIDE Act sets out to do. This bipartisan legislation is a major effort to end drunk driving, keep our highways safe, and prevent needless deaths.”
MADD National President Alex Otte said, “The RIDE Act holds the potential to eliminate drunk driving forever and it is one of the most important initiatives in MADD’s 40-year history. Drunk driving is the leading killer on America’s roads, accounting for more than a quarter of all traffic deaths and injuring 300,000 people every year. On behalf of the nearly 1 million victims MADD has served, I thank Senator Luján and Senator Scott for leading this effort in the Senate.”
Lorraine Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC), said, “Given that alcohol impairment still contributes to a third of America’s roadway fatalities, the RIDE Act is needed more than ever to help save lives. NSC proudly joins MADD in commending Sens. Luján and Scott for reintroducing this important legislation, which recognizes the promise of technology to help reduce impaired driving.”
Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said, “We applaud Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL) for their leadership and dedication to curb impaired driving by introducing the RIDE Act. This bipartisan legislation answers the urgent call for innovative solutions to meaningfully reduce the more than 10,000 deaths caused by drunk driving each year. Ensuring that verified technology which can passively detect impairment and prevent driving is standard in new cars will prevent the lifelong suffering experienced by victims and their families. I want to thank MADD for their heroic and tireless efforts to end this plague on our roadways. Inexplicably, millions of people continue to make the irresponsible, imprudent and often deadly decision to drive impaired every year despite the well-known dangers. We urge Congress to bring this legislation across the finish line to harness the capacities of technology and end this lethal behavior.”
Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Executive Board Chair of the American Public Health Association, and a member of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s Board of Directors, said, “Just as doctors diagnose diseases and implement proven treatments, the RIDE Act pinpoints the cause of approximately 30 percent of traffic fatalities and requires a technological solution. It takes the crucial and commonsense step of directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to require passive impaired driving prevention technology in new vehicles. By developing a minimum performance standard, the DOT will ensure that this lifesaving innovation functions as needed and ensures that its benefits will be experienced equitably.”
Chris R. Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org, said, “DISCUS and Responsibility.org are dedicated to eliminating drunk and impaired driving from America’s roadways. We know bold, innovative approaches are required to reduce crashes and save lives. The technology that this legislation would help bring to American automobiles, including alcohol detection technology, camera technology, and driver monitoring systems, is fundamental to preventing impaired driving fatalities in the future.”