U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján
From the Office Of U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), and a specialized group of more than a dozen auto safety technical experts announced Tuesday the formation of a new Technical Working Group to assist with implementation of advanced impaired driving prevention technology as recently mandated by Congress.
The bipartisan provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, championed by Sen. Luján signed into law in November 2021, calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to conduct a technology-neutral rulemaking for impaired driving prevention and issue a motor vehicle safety standard within three years, by November 2024. Implementation in vehicles would begin two to three years after the standard is issued.
“With the passage of the RIDE/HALT Act in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the United States is one step closer to putting an end to drunk and impaired driving. As the survivor of a drunk driving crash in which I was hit head-on, I am proud to lead on this initiative that will save thousands of lives each year and prevent families from receiving that painful call of losing a loved one,” Luján said. “Now, Congress must ensure that the federal government is fully aligned to implement this law. The Technical Working Group announced today will provide essential support to ensure this bill becomes a reality.”
“We have the technology to prevent drunk driving – which is the single largest cause of traffic fatalities in our country – and it is past time we use it and save lives,” Dingell said. “When Congress passed my legislation requiring car manufacturers to install drunk driving prevention technology as standard equipment in new vehicles, we sent a clear message that we need to end this trauma now. As NHTSA begins the rulemaking process, the Technical Working Group will ensure this technology is implemented quickly and effectively. Together, we can stop drunk driving in this country once and for all.”
The Technical Working Group is co-chaired by Stephanie Manning, Chief Government Affairs Officer at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Distinguished Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and former Associate Administrator at NHTSA.
“The impaired driving technology requirement in the new legislation is one of the most significant advances in auto safety since the seat belt, with the potential to prevent 90 percent of drunk driving deaths when fully implemented in the vehicle fleet,” Michael said. “Congress spoke clearly in establishing the requirements for the rulemaking process that aggressive action is needed to stop impaired driving deaths.”
“We understand that this is a very significant regulatory undertaking, but it is also a necessary one since there is the potential to save so many lives and essentially eliminate impaired driving, the leading cause of traffic deaths,” Manning said. “We plan to provide the best information on currently available technologies and developments by other regulatory bodies and the supplier community around the world, to make implementation of this life-saving technology a success. We need this passive impaired driving prevention technology implemented as soon as possible to turn around the growing crisis on our roads.”
The Technical Working Group is an independent body comprised of experts with extensive knowledge of vehicle safety technologies, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) regulatory process, and public health initiatives:
- Nat Beuse, Vice President of Safety, Aurora; MADD Board Member
- Kadija Ferryman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy
- Kelly Funkhouser, Program Manager, Vehicle Technology, Consumer Reports
- Shaun Kildare, PhD, Director of Research, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
- Anders Lie, PhD, retired, former Board Member, European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP); former Traffic Safety Specialist, Swedish Transport Administration
- Stephanie Manning, Chief Government Affairs Officer, MADD
- Jeffrey Michael, EdD, Distinguished Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy
- Stephen Oesch, retired, former Senior Vice President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Roger Saul, PhD, retired, former Director, Vehicle Research and Test Center, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Ken Snyder, Executive Director, Shingo Institute, Utah State Huntsman School of Business; MADD Volunteer and Victim of Impaired Driving
- Don Tracy, retired, former Vice President, DENSO North America
- David Zuby, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The group will invite others with specific expertise to assist during its proceedings.