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Tuesday, August 09, 2011
8/10: Sen. Tom Udall to Chair Senate Field Hearing on DWI in ABQ
On Wednesday, August 10, Senator Tom Udall will chair a field hearing titled “Fighting Drunk Driving: Lessons Learned from New Mexico” from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM in Room 2404 at the University of New Mexico Law School located at 1117 Stanford Drive NE in Albuquerquea. Udall will convene an official Senate field hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, of which he is a member.
The hearing will include testimony from leaders and advocates on the history of DWI in New Mexico, its progress in reducing drunk driving, ongoing challenges, and potential solutions. The public is welcome to attend the hearing, but because this is an official Senate hearing, testimony will be limited to witnesses.
Because Sen. Udall believes public input is important, however, he invites interested parties to submit written comments that will be included in the official record of the hearing. Those interested in further instruction on submitting written comments for the record should contact Udall's Albuquerque office at 505-346-6791.
Witnesses at the hearing will include:
Panel I: New Mexico's Approach to Drunk Driving
- Mr. Ronald Medford, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Mr. Michael R. Sandoval, Director, Traffic Safety Division, New Mexico Department of Transportation
Panel II: Strategies Employed in New Mexico to Combat Drunk Driving and Reduce Road Fatalities
- The Honorable Richard J. Berry, Mayor, City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
- Mr. Richard Williams, Chief of Police, Las Cruces Police Department
- Ms. Lora Lee Ortiz, Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving New Mexico
- Dr. Cameron Crandall, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Research, University of New Mexico Hospital, University of New Mexico, Department of Emergency Medicine
Panel III: Emerging Technologies for Reducing the Rate of Drunk Driving
- Ms. Susan A. Ferguson, Ph.D., Program Manager, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety
- Mr. David Culver, Vice President, Government Relations, Distilled Spirits Council DISCUS
Personally, I'm disappointed that it appears little or no attention will be paid to alcoholism as an addictive disease or to integrating treatment options into the discussion of possible ways to reduce drunken driving. I think much could also be done in terms of educating the public, and particularly youth, about the disease of alcoholism, the availability of treatments for addiction and the facts about alcohol impairment and responsible drinking.
As New Mexico’s Attorney General, Udall made fighting DWI a priority and worked with the Legislature to enact tougher laws against offenders. In both the House and Senate, Udall has championed efforts to increase enforcement, improve public awareness, and build on proven methods for DWI prevention, like ignition interlocks and other emerging prevention technologies.