Statement by Chris Swonger, President & CEO, Distilled Spirits Council and Responsibility.org, on Passage of the Senate Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Legislation Includes Critically Important Impaired Driving Prevention Measures
“The members of the Senate are to be commended for their support of the important traffic safety measures aimed at impaired driving that were included in the legislation.
“Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable and installing advanced prevention technology in new vehicles will bring our nation one step closer to ridding our highways of these dangerous drivers.
“Efforts to design vehicles that prevent impaired driving have been underway for more than a decade and this legislation will finally make it a reality resulting in more than 9,000 lives saved each year.
“Crash risks increase exponentially when drivers are impaired from multiple substances, and this issue is a growing problem for states. Preliminary NHTSA data show a rise in total traffic deaths during the pandemic, including impaired driving fatalities. Enacting the traffic safety measures included in this bill is the aggressive action needed to end impaired driving. We urge the House to join the Senate in passing this life-saving legislation.”
The Senate Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 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 that would 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 proceeding to 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, DISCUS, MADD, AAA, Beer Institute, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), National District Attorneys Association, National Safety Council, National Sheriffs Association, SADD, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Education and Regulation (CPEAR), and the National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving (NASID).
About The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS)
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory, and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.
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 U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; 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.