Luján, Scott Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Drunk Driving and Help Save Lives

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced the bipartisan Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act of 2021 to prevent drunk driving and help save thousands of lives each year. The RIDE Act would promote the research and development of advanced alcohol detection technology and require auto manufacturers to implement this technology in new car models.

U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) 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. In a July 2020 study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that more than 9,400 drunk driving deaths could be prevented each year if drunk driving prevention technology is made standard on every new vehicle.

“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,” said Luján, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “This bipartisan legislation is a major effort to end drunk driving, keep our highways safe, and prevent needless deaths.”

“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,” said Senator Rick Scott.

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

“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,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “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.” 

“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,” said Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

“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,” said 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.

“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,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “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.”  

“DISCUS and are dedicated to eliminating drunk and impaired driving from America’s roadways,” said Chris R. Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and “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.”

The full text of the legislation can be found HERE.



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