STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENTThe data released today by the Transportation Department shows that we are making real progress in protecting Americans from drunk drivers. Last year, the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes dropped to an all-time low, representing a decline of over a third since 1982. For the first time since we started keeping these statistics in 1975, drunk driving deaths accounted for less than 40 percent of all traffic deaths. And alcohol-related fatalities among 16 to 20 year-olds dropped by 5 percent last year alone.
Our progress is the result of stronger laws, tougher enforcement, and increased public awareness. In particular, today's statistics show the importance of the legislation I fought for and signed three years ago to ensure zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. But there is more we must do. We could save even more lives by passing a tough national standard of impaired driving at .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) -- and I continue to challenge the Congress to enact this life-saving measure. If we work together, we can spare thousands of families from the grief and anger of losing a loved one to a preventable drunk driving crash, and make our roads, highways, and communities safer for all Americans.