After multiple extensions, years of negotiations and last minute changes, on June 29th, Congress passed legislation providing for stability of transportation in the US. Moving Ahead for Progress, or MAP -21, will help the states fund transportation projects and safety initiatives through the fall of 2014.
The Century Council appreciated working with Congress and members of the Transportation Conference Committee to make sure important provisions regarding behavioral safety continued to stay in the final version of the bill. MAP-21 contains provisions that provide states with guidance and grants as they work to keep drunk driving off their roadways.
Within the National Priority Safety Programs portion of the bill, there is a section that provides funding to states for Impaired Driving Countermeasures. It is within this section that Congress has shown excellent leadership in dealing with Hardcore Drunk Drivers. As states put together plans and grant requests to address drunk drivers on their highways, they can qualify for grants if they plan on implementing certain programs. The Century Council, and many of our partners, is happy to see that many of those programs address the Hardcore Drunk Driver and provide the needed resources for criminal justice professionals.
States can get funds to train and educate Prosecutors, Judges, Probation Officers and Law Enforcement on ways to handle impaired driving cases. States can also use the funds to hire a Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor or a Judicial Outreach Liaison. The funds can also be used to help communities establish DWI courts. All of these programs provide offenders with the help they need so that they do not get behind the wheel drunk again.
The legislation also provides funds for research into advanced technology that would keep a vehicle from starting if a driver is at or above the illegal blood alcohol limit. This was a provision championed by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). The Century Council supports the exploration of this technology if it is set at .08 BAC, moderately priced, voluntarily installed and absolutely reliable.
We thank Congress for all of their diligent work on MAP-21 and passing a bill that will help states make our roadways safer.