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Home Uncategorized Michigan woman helps spearhead federal law after losing family to drunk driver

Michigan woman helps spearhead federal law after losing family to drunk driver

by Johnson Jr.
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Originally Published: 04 JAN 24 10:53 ET

By James Felton and Hannah Mose

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    MICHIGAN (WNEM) — An unfathomable tragedy has inspired a new feature you could find in your next car.

A Michigan woman who lost her family to a drunk driver has made it her mission to ensure others never experience this same loss, helping spearhead a federal law requiring future vehicles to be equipped with drunk driving prevention technology.

“She looked at me and she said, ‘I am so sorry you had to lose your family, but I need you to know they’re the reason we’re going to end drunk driving in this country,’” said Rana Abbas Taylor.

She said the words were from an administrator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the words woke her up.

A drunk driver took the lives of Abbas Taylor’s only sister, two nieces, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. They all died in a head-on crash in Lexington, Kentucky in January 2019.

Since then, a federal law known as the HALT Act has been put in place. HALT stands for Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving Act.

The law calls for all new vehicles produced by 2026 or 2027 to have passive impaired driving prevention systems as a standard feature.

“We are in the process of making sure it’s not enough that there’s a federal law on the books that mandates that vehicles in this country have the safety tech, but we want to make sure the safety tech is actually put into, is identified and put into these vehicles within the time frame of our mandate,” Abbas Taylor said.

She was quick to point out that this smart technology has no relation to police breathalyzers or ignition interlock devices that require a motorist to actively blow into a device.

“This is passive technology, and what that means is that the driver doesn’t even know the technology exists — kind of like lane assist as an example — unless it needs to kick in. If the car notices that there is something going on with the driver, only then does the tech kick in,” she explained.

Advanced impaired driving prevention systems use sensors integrated into a car that passively determine if the person behind the wheel is illegally impaired.

Abbas Taylor said once implemented, this technology will eliminate deaths, injuries, and crashes caused by impaired driving.

“You know, if there’s something that we can do to prevent any other family from going through what we did, we were all in,” she said.

It’s estimated more than 10,000 lives will be saved each year if all new cars are equipped with drunk driving prevention technology.

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