Archive for the ‘ABI’ Category

MADD Wants ‘DADSS’ to Stop Drunk Driving

December 3, 2010

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) people killed by drunk drivers Federal Highway Reauthorization Bill convicted of drunk driving ignition interlock device installed vehicles lock the ignition for drivers with a blood alcohol level legal limit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety DADSS technology blood alcohol concentration BAC Cleared2Drive's Impairment Detection Technology Alcohol Beverage Institute ABI Sarah Longwell organization National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA impaired driving Good2Go

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) can reasonably take the credit for halving the number of people killed by drunk driving each year from 21,000 in 1980 to about 11,000 in 2009. To appreciate how big an accomplishment that is, it’s helpful to remember that when MADD was founded in 1980, “it was legal to get behind the wheel and drink a beer in most states,” and drunk drivers “rarely received more than a fine,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

MADD celebrated its 30th anniversary in a big way: it launched an effort that will — it hopes — virtually eliminate drunk driving. First, it wants Congress to amend the Federal Highway Reauthorization Bill to require that people convicted of drunk driving must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. This is already law in 12 states. Second, MADD wants Congress to authorize $60 million over five years to pay for the development of a device that would lock the ignition for drivers with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety — yes, that spells DADSS – might save 8,000 lives every year, once the technology is perfected. While their device is expected to take several years to finish, and might use infrared light sensors or scan driver’s fingers to assess the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology is available now.

The Alcohol Beverage Institute (ABI) objects to its plan to put DADSS in all cars. “They are no longer a mainstream organization,” said the Institute’s managing director, Sarah Longwell. “Many of their policies are extremely fringe at this point.”  While it might seem ludicrous to paint an organization founded by a mother whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver as “extremely fringe,” the Institute does sound a bit desperate as well they should: “When they talk about alcohol sensing technologies, ultimately what it does, it eliminates people’s ability to drink anything before driving,” Longwell said. “It’s not about drunk driving anymore, it’s about trying to demonize any drinking prior to driving.”

We at Cleared2Drive believe ABI’s point is very valid.  It is one thing to have a glass of wine with dinner and it quite another to sit at a bar for hours on end and get blitzed.  What MADD and DADSS are both missing is the distinction between drinking and being impaired because it comes at different points for everyone.  What DADSS is trying to create is a one size fits all and we all know that just doesn’t cut it.  What they should be considering is how person gets impaired – from 1 drink or 10 drinks, or by swallowing a hand full of prescription pills, or drinking 2 bottles of NyQuil, or by smoking meth – is what we should be really concerned about.  We need technology installed in vehicle that can make the critical determination of what is truly important . . . IS THE VEHICLE OPERATOR IMPAIRED?

Cleared2Drive understands that MADD said it isn’t trying to outlaw drinking — just drunk driving. Which is not a bad thing but given that more than 11,000 people a year still die in crashes related to drunk driving, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released results from its latest study showing that more than 1/3 of all drivers killed have drugs in their system, we need to move away from trying to detect “drunk driving” and focus on the broader picture of “impaired driving” as that is the key to saving lives.



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