Statement by Chris Swonger: Distilled Spirits Council, Responsibility.org Applaud Preservation of Key DUI Prevention Rulemaking in House Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, November 7, 2023 – Today, Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and Responsibility.org issued the following statement hailing the U.S. House of Representatives for rejecting an amendment that would have stripped funding for a critical anti-drunk driving technology rulemaking at the Department of Transportation.
"The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Responsibility.org and our partners applaud members of Congress for their support for the continued development of critical impaired driving prevention technology in new vehicles and for rejecting the misguided Massie amendment. Even though impaired driving crashes are 100 percent preventable, the number of people killed in DUI crashes the past couple of years has increased. We must make use of all technology and tools at our disposal to save lives and increase safety on roads across the country, and with this amendment’s down-vote, America is one significant step closer to that goal. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Representatives who voted to reject this amendment, as it would have led to further unnecessary tragedy.”
Last week, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the FY2024 House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would have blocked funding for section 24220 of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, which directs DOT to promulgate a rulemaking for passive impaired driving prevention technology to be built into new vehicles starting in 2026.
Section 24220 of the IIJA was codified as the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act, named in honor of Issam and Rima Abbas and their children Ali, Isabella and Giselle who were killed on I-75 in Lexington, Kentucky by a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content nearly four times the legal limit. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that when implemented this impaired driving prevention technology will save more than 10,000 lives each year.
These technologies will provide a sensible, evidence-based approach to intercept impaired drivers before they cause crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies can ensure consumer data is secure, anonymous, and protected from authorized use, and DISCUS and Responsibility.org remain committed to working with all stakeholders through the rulemaking process.