July 25, 2011

Broad Coalition of Safety, Insurance, Auto and Alcohol Groups Call for Enactment of Drunk Driving Prevention Research Measure

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A broad range of safety, auto, insurance and alcohol industry groups and companies has called on Congress to pass legislation to provide funding for an advanced drunk driving detection research program which could lead to more than 8,000 fewer highway fatalities each year and a nationwide economic cost saving of approximately $130 billion annually.

In a letter to House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Ranking Democratic Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the groups called for inclusion of the ROADS SAFE (Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-related Fatalities Everywhere) legislation in the safety portion of the surface transportation measure under development by the Committee. The bill was introduced by Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and John Sarbanes (D-Md.).

The Senate version of this legislation was introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). A version of their measure was approved last year by the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee as part of broader legislation.

The letter (copy follows) states that the legislation "would authorize the transfer of currently unused safety funds at a rate of $12 million annually for five years to support and expand the ongoing DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) research program currently being undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and leading automakers."

"The goal of this research program is to develop a publicly-supported technology for vehicles that will instantaneously and passively detect if a driver is drunk (above the legal limit of .08 BAC) and prevent the vehicle from starting. The technology must also be extremely accurate, inexpensive and a non-invasive optional safety feature," the letter adds.

Groups and companies on the letter are AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Allstate Insurance, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Automotive Policy Council, American Highway Users Alliance, American International Automobile Dealers Association, American Trucking Associations, Association of Global Automakers, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Governors Highway Safety Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, National Beer Wholesalers Association, National Organizations for Youth Safety, National Safety Council, Nationwide Insurance, Safe Kids USA, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, The Century Council and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.

SOURCE Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers