STATEMENT BY CHRIS SWONGER, PRESIDENT & CEO, DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL OF THE UNITED STATES AND RESPONSIBILITY.ORG, URGING PASSAGE OF HALT ACT TO PREVENT DRUNK DRIVING
ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, Chris R. Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org announced support for the HALT Act, applauded the longtime leadership of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and lead co-sponsors Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) to stop impaired driving, and urged Congress to swiftly pass the legislation that could eliminate drunk driving by including advanced drunk driving prevention technology into new vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 9,400 lives could be saved each year once this technology is on all vehicles.
The HALT Act would expand the nation’s ongoing efforts to develop automotive technology, establish a regulatory process to test the technology and determine feasibility, and ultimately install lifesaving technology that is unobtrusive to safe drivers on new vehicles.
“DISCUS and Responsibility.org are dedicated to eliminating drunk driving, and with recent increases in multiple substance impaired driving, we know we must support bold and innovative approaches to save lives,” said Swonger. “Technology holds tremendous promise and all types of technology, including alcohol detection technology, camera technology and driver monitoring systems, must be explored as effective ways to prevent impaired driving.”
Traffic deaths involving drivers impaired by multiple substances are on the rise. The nation must look beyond traditional approaches to address all forms of impaired driving. New technology may be able to prevent drunk, drugged, and multiple substance impaired driving, as well as distracted driving and fatigued driving.
Technology has long been critical to addressing impaired driving among DUI offenders. Ignition interlocks are the most effective way to stop a DUI offender from driving drunk again. Online screening and assessment tools can help identify substance use and mental health disorders among DUI offenders and are a first step to rehabilitation and effective sentencing. Alcohol monitoring systems are effective at preventing repeat DUI offenders from drinking alcohol during the rehabilitation process. Oral fluid testing, electronic warrants and mobile fingerprint readers help detect impaired drivers. The HALT Act would implement technology that will address driving behavior for law abiding citizens.
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; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 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.
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.