Statement by Chris Swonger, President & CEO, Responsibility.org and Distilled Spirits Council on House Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Legislation Includes Critically Important Impaired Driving Prevention Measures
Yesterday's passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by the United States House of Representatives is commendable and positions the nation to address the 18.4% surge in highway traffic safety deaths in the first half of 2021, in a meaningful way. The legislation includes historic provisions to eliminate impaired driving and is a bold step in the right direction.
Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable, and this legislation establishes a federal rulemaking process to install advanced prevention technology in new vehicles that will bring our nation even closer to ridding our roadways of impaired drivers, who pose a danger to motorists and pedestrians.
This legislation is a culmination of more than a decade's worth of work to design vehicles that proactively prevent impaired driving. The provisions in this legislation will provide the resources necessary to finally make these vehicles a reality and potentially save more than 9,000 lives per year.
Crash risk increases exponentially when drivers are impaired from multiple substances, and this issue is a growing problem for states. Enacting the traffic safety measures included in this bill is the aggressive action needed to end impaired driving. President Biden has pledged to sign the bill, and we applaud the Congress, the Administration, and many traffic-safety advocates who championed this life-saving legislation.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Package includes strong provisions to address impaired driving, including:
- Advanced Impaired Driving Prevention Technology. This will be a multi-year federal rulemaking process to put technology on new vehicles to prevent a drunk driver from driving impaired but would be unobtrusive to the safe, sober driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be tasked with testing technologies, determining feasibility, and implementation.
- Expanded state efforts to address multiple substance impaired driving through innovative programs and technology to identify, monitor, and treat impaired drivers.
- Language to expand the number of states that qualify for incentive grant funding with the passage of effective ignition interlock laws.
- A GAO study to improve national reporting of impaired driving arrest and citation data into federal databases.
- Expanded states efforts to collect timely and accurate data on crash information, including electronic crash reporting systems that allow accurate real or near-real-time access.
- Public education efforts on cannabis-impaired driving prevention.
- Data collection efforts for expanded drug testing among impaired drivers.
- Research on cannabis-impaired driving.
The Act is supported by Responsibility.org, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), AAA, Beer Institute, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving (NASID), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), National Safety Council (NSC), National Sheriffs Association (NSA), Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Education and Regulation (CPEAR).
For more information, visit Responsibility.org.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi USA, Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Campari Group, DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For 30 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit www.Responsibility.org.