Dingell wants breathalyzers on every new vehicle after family killed in crash
(FOX 2) - Congresswoman Debbie Dingell pledged to take on drunk driving in Congress after a Michigan family of five was killed by a suspected drunk driver.
Congresswoman Dingell, standing next to a large picture of the Abbas family on Thursday, said she was "heartbroken" as she elaborated on legislation that would mandate all new vehicles come equipped with an ignition interlock breathalyzer device.
The legislation is in honor of the family, who was driving home from a vacation in Florida when another driver collided head on with their vehicle. The bill is being called the Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act.
Toxicology reports are not in yet, but police allege Joey Bailey was intoxicated when he drove the wrong way on I-75 in Kentucky and crashed into the Abbas' vehicle. Everyone in the Abbas family, and Bailey, were killed instantly.
Authorities identified the family members as 42-year-old Issam Abbas and Rima Abbas, 38 and their children, a boy Ali Abbas, 14 and girls Isabella Abbas, 13, and Giselle Abbas, 7. Thousands attended their memorial service.
Dingell said several people came up and spoke with her when she, too, attended the service.
"I was struck by children and grown men who came up to me in tears, asking me why we haven't done something to stop drunk driving," she said. "'Why weren't we using and mandating technology that would save lives?' and I had no good answer."
She said Congress has never had the will to "take on" drunk driving, but she wants to change that now. She said she'll be introducing the legislation soon in memory of the family.
"I know that some will say, 'This is too much of a burden; it won't work. Why should we have to do that?' Well I'm going to look them in the eye and tell them why no community should ever have to feel what our community is still feeling this week," she said.
In 2016 alone more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, Dingell stated, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths.