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Mann, Pappas Introduce Legislation to Reduce Intoxicated Driving

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By the Office of U.S. Congressman Tracey Mann

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS-01) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced the End Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Act of 2024. The bipartisan legislation would create a national ignition interlock standard by encouraging states to adopt a mandatory first-time ignition interlock law, which helps reduce recidivism and improve road safety by ensuring fewer drunk drivers are on the road. Twenty-five states, including Kansas, already meet the standards outlined in the bill.

“Every life has value and is worthy of protection from harm,” said Rep. Mann. “On average, 37 people in America die every day in drunk-driving related car crashes. The End DWI Act of 2024 can reduce this statistic by requiring offenders who drive while intoxicated to use an ignition interlock device for at least six months after their first offense. Studies have shown this preventative practice reduces recidivism by as much 70% among first-time, repeat, and high-risk offenders, in turn reducing their risk to take the lives of innocent Kansans and Americans by driving while intoxicated.”

“Drunk driving kills and injures far too many Americans every year, and we must ensure that those who drive while intoxicated are held accountable and that we employ effective strategies to prevent repeated offenses,” said Congressman Pappas. “This bipartisan legislation will create a national ignition interlock standard by encouraging states to adopt mandatory first-time offender ignition interlock laws. Twenty-five states, including New Hampshire already have these standards in place and implementing them nationwide will further reduce repeated drunk driving and safeguard our roadways.”

Organizations supporting this legislation include Safety and Advocacy for Empowerment (SAFE), Mothers against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

“Driving is a privilege that is given upon implied agreement to the social contract that one will drive reasonably and safely, according to the law,” said James Lee whose teenage daughter, Alyssa, was killed by a drunk driver in Shawnee County, Kansas in February 2023. “Perhaps the most egregious violation of that agreement is the act of driving while intoxicated. This law requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices for those convicted of DWI is a small price to pay for the offender, especially in relation to the amount of increased safety it supplies to the community at large. To require someone to blow into a device to prevent them from repeating an unsafe driving act is the least we can do to demonstrate our seriousness, not only with enforcing safe roads for our loved ones, but by providing some level of insurance against those who have already shown their willingness to violate the social contract that comes with driving; a contract I taught my daughter Alyssa, who received her license less than 6 months before she was senselessly killed by a drunk driver. The absolute least that we can do to honor the lives of those affected by drunk drivers is everything we can to prevent more victims. The installation of ignition interlock devices will absolutely do that.”

“Drunk driving knows no state borders. It is a nationwide crisis. This legislation takes the same approach as laws MADD has spearheaded over the past four decades that prevent thousands of deaths and injuries every year, including the nationwide 21 minimum drinking age and the .08 blood alcohol content law. While drunk driving deaths have dropped dramatically since MADD’s founding in 1980, they have increased by an unprecedented 33% since 2019. American families deserve safe roads and laws that will help eradicate drunk driving.” – Stacey D. Stewart, CEO, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

“Alcohol-impaired driving continues to be a leading killer on our roadways, contributing to nearly one of every three motor vehicle fatalities. Proven solutions to end these tragic fatalities, injuries and related costs are available; it’s time to take action. One effective approach is state laws requiring all driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenders to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle. Yet, after decades of financial incentives for states, many states are still lacking the law. The End DWI Act aims to close these gaps in state laws. We commend Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Tracey Mann (R-KS) for sponsoring this bill and urge Congress to swiftly pass it. Every 39 minutes that pass between now and then means another person was killed in a crash involving alcohol impairment. This pain and suffering must and can be stopped.” – Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

“Eliminating alcohol-impaired driving is critical to saving lives on our roadways across the country. Ignition interlocks are a proven policy solution to this preventable issue, and we should use all evidenced-based policy measures to end impaired driving. NSC is thrilled with the bipartisan support for this legislation; we know it will save lives.” – Lorraine Martin, President and CEO, National Safety Council.

“With more than 40,000 people dying each year on our nation’s roadways – one-third due to drunk driving, it is time for a swift nationwide response to curb this epidemic of death and destruction. We call on Congress to enact the End DWI Act to encourage each state to require all drunk driving offenders to install state of the art ignition interlock devices to prevent repeat offenses. This national legislation follows the precedent set by President Reagan and a bipartisan Congress when they uniformly raised the minimum drinking age to 21 and erased blood borders between the states — a law that saves countless lives every year. This simple yet effective technology will prevent tragic crashes, protect innocent lives, and keep families whole across our nation.” – Brandy Nannini, Board Member, SAFE coalition.