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Sen. Baldwin says many lives will be saved as Congress mandates new car tech to stop drunk driving

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 9:27 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says the state’s roads and bridges are crumbling and in need of a boost.

“This is an investment in our states and our nation’s infrastructure that is really going to transform us into an economy that can lead in the 21st century,” Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin, said of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Tucked into that legislation was $17 billion for road safety programs and a mandate for automakers to prevent drunk driving.

“I think we will save many many lives, and prevent many many injuries, and be moving in the right direction of using this enhanced technology for good,” Baldwin said during a 10 minute zoom conversation.

She also touched on the bills long term investment in expanding access to broadband in rural areas and removing lead pipes.

Under the legislation, monitoring systems to stop intoxicated drivers would roll out in new vehicles as early as 2026, although we don’t know at this time how that technology will look like.

“The Department of Transportation has a few years to promulgate a rule, and then the vehicle manufactures will be consulted during that time. But, they will have two years to get that technology in the new cars that they sell,” she said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 20,000 people died in traffic collisions the first half of 2021. That’s the highest first half total since 2006.

NHTSA stated each year around 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes in the US.

Baldwin said distracted driving is just as dangerous.

“If you’re looking down and typing in your device and looking at the reply and not keeping your hand on the wheels and looking at the window. you are distracted and that’s dangerous,” she said.

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