June 3, 2013
Washington, DC--The National Consumers League mourns the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg was a giant in promoting the health and safety of consumers. His effective legislating against smoking and drunk driving no doubt make him responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Senator Lautenberg was an early proponent of strict laws curbing drunk driving, pushing a measure that committed all 50 states to reducing blood alcohol levels of drivers to .08. He successfully worked to set a nationally enforced age for the legal alcohol consumption at 21 years old, and followed that with a law requiring those with histories of drunk driving to have ignition interlocks (which prevent a vehicle from starting if a sensor detects alcohol on a driver’s breath) installed on their cars and trucks (Public Law No. 110-244). That law was enacted in 2008.
The Senator also successfully argued for a ban on smoking in federal buildings and on airplanes, noting with regard to planes, “With this legislation, nonsmokers, including children and infants, will be free from secondhand smoke. Working flight attendants will avoid a hazard that has jeopardized their health and their jobs.”
Countless thousands of Americans today have clear lungs and greatly improved health as a result of Senator Lautenberg’s efforts against smoking; others are alive as a result of the Senator’s early work to adopt stricter drunk driving laws. The Senator also championed another critically important public health issue, strict gun control, and worked to protect battered spouses by restricting the abusive partner’s access to firearms.
Senator Lautenberg’s pioneering leadership on drunk driving, smoking, and gun control make him one of the great champions of public health measures that make us all safer, healthier, and more secure.
We salute the legacy of this great Senator, whose work left an indelible mark on America.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.