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Proposed HALT Act Could Save Lives

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in March to require auto manufacturers to install technologies aimed at preventing drunk driving as standard equipment in all new vehicles. The HALT Act was introduced by U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), Kathleen Rice (D-New York), and David McKinley (R-West Virginia). If the bill passes, the U.S. Department of Transportation will issue a requirement that drunk driving prevention technology must be installed in all new passenger vehicles.

HALT stands for Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving. The bill’s title seeks to memorialize a Michigan family, the Abbas. In January 2019, a mother, father, and three children were killed when a drunk driver traveling in the wrong direction slammed into their vehicle as they were returning home from vacation. The drunk driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) that was close to four times the legal limit.

Vehicle Technology to Prevent Drunk Driving

The technology used to prevent people from driving drunk already exists. These computer systems perform monitoring of the driver and, in addition to impairment, can also detect signs of distraction or fatigue. If sensors determine that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the vehicle will be prevented from moving. Beyond drunk driving, such technologies may prevent accidents caused by distracted and drowsy driving, and may also help to prevent accidents caused by a driver experiencing a medical emergency.

The proposed legislation would give the automobile industry a reasonable amount of time to implement the requirement of making drunk driving prevention technology standard equipment.

Drunk Driving Continues to Take Lives

The goal of the proposed legislation is to prevent accidents that cause injuries and fatalities as a result of drunk driving. The work done by the nonprofit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which was established 40 years ago, resulted in a 50% reduction in yearly drunk driving deaths. However, deaths continue and have plateaued to, on average, more than 10,000 lives lost each year to accidents caused by alcohol intoxication. 

A study released in 2020 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimated that upwards of 9,400 yearly deaths caused by drunk driving could be prevented if the drunk driving prevention technology becomes standard equipment on every new vehicle.

MADD Expresses Support for the HALT Act

A representative from MADD stated that because drunk driving continues to be the biggest killer on our roads, these automotive technologies cannot be optional.

MADD was founded in 1980. It is the country’s largest nonprofit organization working to stop drunk driving and help fight drugged driving. It was founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by an intoxicated driver. Over the years, the organization has saved more than 400,000 lives and has reduced drunk driving fatalities by over 50 percent.

Watch the YouTube Video. Below is a clip posted by one of the country’s chapters of MADD discussing the HALT Act.

Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer 

Thank you for reading our exploration of proposed legislation entitled the HALT Act. My name is Ed Smith, and I’m a wrongful death lawyer in Sacramento, California. The compassionate injury lawyers at our firm understand the heartbreak following the death of a beloved family member. We also understand that death caused by the negligence and recklessness of another can compound the grieving process with feelings of anger, frustration, and guilt. Protect your family’s legal rights by reaching out to us for free and friendly advice. Our local phone number is (916) 921-6400. We also provide a toll-free number for families that will be calling from outside the region: (800) 404-5400. If you prefer, you may also send your inquiry online.

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