New bill aimed at curbing injuries and fatalities due to drunk drivers on the horizon

Mariah’s Act, a US Senate bill intended to fund a variety of additional measures meant to address drunk driving, has recently been approved in committee, clearing the way for consideration by the full Senate.

The Act, formally designated S 1449, would call for additional federal incentives meant to encourage wider adoption of policies that require all offenders convicted of DUI to install ignition interlock devices in their cars. The bill also provides additional funds for a number of existing programs, such as the advanced alcohol detection research program. That program is engaged in the development of new technologies that can be installed in-vehicle to prevent operation by a drunk driver.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a national non-profit organization, has praised the committee’s decision to recommend the bill to the full Senate, stating on their website that “[w]e encourage the full Senate to act on this important safety measure as soon as possible, and for the House to follow the Senate Committee’s safety leadership.”

It is difficult to exaggerate the danger posed to others by drunk drivers. Drunk driving accounts for up to one third of traffic fatalities in Alabama, as of 2009. Nationally, the percentage remains much the same. While state and federal lawmakers have passed increasingly strict legislation aimed at drunk driving, legal sanctions are cold comfort for those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident.