MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®
Nearly four decades after MADD’s founding, drunk driving remains the leading killer on our nation’s roadways. While drunk driving deaths have been cut in half since 1980, more than 10,000 people still lose their lives every year to this completely preventable crime. Even more troubling, drunk driving deaths increased in 2015 and 2016 after years of steady declines. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is MADD’s blueprint for ending these senseless tragedies through a four-pronged approach: • Support law enforcement and high-visibility crackdowns • Pass laws requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders • Advocate for advanced vehicle technology • Grow public support When MADD launched the Campaign in 2006, autonomous vehicle technology and the idea of driverless cars was not a household conversation. Yet MADD knew technology would be key to keeping drunk drivers off the road. Passing ignition interlock laws for all drunk driving offenders was, and still is, a top priority in every state. These in-car breathalyzers, when installed in the vehicles of drunk driving offenders, reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent. MADD will continue to advocate for all 50 states to pass laws requiring these devices for all offenders. In the future, exciting new advanced vehicle technologies hold the promise of preventing even a first drunk driving offense. MADD has been a key supporter of the Driver Alcohol Detection System, or DADSS, which MADD has helped advance since 2008. This passive technology uses touch-based and breath-based systems to detect alcohol levels and stop a vehicle from operating if the driver is drunk. Deployment of this technology needs to happen as soon as possible. We are hopeful that the technology will be piloted soon in Virginia. In addition to DADSS, fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to help completely eliminate drunk driving. MADD is working in partnership with the federal government, the auto industry and technology companies to advocate for safe development of this lifesaving technology. With 94 percent of all crashes caused by human error, fully autonomous technology has the potential to eliminate tragedies on our nation’s roadways. Until that day, there is still much work to do. In 2006, there were about 13,000 drunk driving deaths per year. Today, drunk driving deaths are down by 23.5 percent, and all four prongs of the Campaign have experienced tremendous success.
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