Fact Sheet: President Clinton Helps Make Our Roads Safer for American Families (10/23/00)
|                                                                         |
|                 PRESIDENT CLINTON HELPS MAKE OUR ROADS                  |
|                       SAFER FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES                       |
|                            October 23, 2000                             |
|                                                                         |

Today, President Clinton will sign into law a major safety provision to
help set a nationwide impaired driving standard at .08 blood alcohol
content (BAC).  Significant progress has been made to reduce drunk driving
deaths across the country, but too many lives are still being lost due to
impaired drivers.  In 1999 alone, 15,786 Americans were killed in
alcohol-related crashes, including over 2,200 children.  A national
standard will save an estimated 500 lives annually, helping make our
nation?s highways and streets safer for all Americans.

?     Creating the first-ever national impaired driving standard to save
lives.  The FY 2001 Transportation Appropriations bill includes a
lifesaving provision that will help to set the first-ever national impaired
driving standard at .08 BAC.  Drunk driving deaths have dropped to historic
lows, but every 33 minutes another life is lost in an alcohol-related
crash.  As a crucial step toward reducing drunk driving deaths and related
injuries, President Clinton has fought to create a nationwide blood alcohol
content limit at .08 percent for drivers age 21 and older.  Studies show
that drivers at .08 BAC have difficulty with critical driving tasks, and
are at an approximately 13 times greater risk for being killed in a single
motor vehicle accident.  When all states have set their BAC limits to .08,
an estimated 500 lives could be saved and thousands of injuries could be
prevented each year.

?     Imposing tough provisions to help put the .08 BAC standard in place.
The bill President Clinton will sign today gives states until FY 2004 to
adopt .08 BAC as the impaired driving standard or risk losing 2% of their
federal highway construction funds, and an additional 2% each year up to an
8% loss by FY 2007.  Currently, 19 states, the District of Columbia, and
Puerto Rico have .08 BAC limits.  The 19 states are: AL, CA, FL, HI, ID,
IL, KS, KY, ME, NH, NM, NC, OR, RI, TX, UT, VT, VA, and WA.

?     Building on a strong record to combat drunk driving.  Today?s
progress is part of a broad  Clinton-Gore Administration effort to reduce
alcohol-related crashes, underage drinking and driving and to improve
highway safety.  In 1998, President Clinton directed the Transportation
Department to help set a .08 BAC standard on federal property and establish
an education campaign to help the public understand the risks associated
with drinking and driving.  In 1995, President Clinton signed a law similar
to the .08 BAC provision to make zero tolerance for underage drinking the
law of the land. To date, all 50 states have adopted zero tolerance laws
that makes it illegal for youth under age 21 to drive with any measurable
amount of alcohol in their system.

leadership has proposed a budget that threatens our nation?s well-being by
failing to pass:  investments in key education priorities; targeted tax
cuts for working families; an affordable prescription drug benefit for all
Medicare beneficiaries; a meaningful Patients? Bill of Rights; hate crimes
legislation; equal pay for women; and fairness for immigrants.  Congress
also has made virtually no progress toward passing a minimum wage increase,
despite a commitment from Speaker Hastert to do so.  President Clinton will
call on Congress to do their job by securing investments in America?s
priorities before returning to their districts to campaign for re-election.

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