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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 3, 1993




The 1993 holiday season is an ideal time to ask ourselves what more can be done to prevent drunk and drugged driving -- one of our Nation's most serious public health and safety problems. Each year, thousands of Americans are killed or seriously injured because of drunk and drugged drivers. During this National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, I ask each citizen to work actively to help improve the safety of our roads and highways by pledging not to drink and drive. In addition, we must be alert to the risks of the road and make a special effort to ensure that others do the same.

As in past years, citizens across the country are participating in programs and activities to focus public attention on the prevention of driving under the influence of mind-altering substances. Public officials at all levels are sponsoring anti-drunk and anti-drugged driving legislation, appointing special task forces, and issuing proclamations; law enforcement agencies are increasing enforcement efforts; public and private organizations are holding safety campaigns, including candlelight vigils in memory of those killed due to driving catastrophes caused by drunk and drugged drivers. Just as important, citizens are sponsoring volunteer programs to provide rides home from holiday parties. These are just some of the things that each of us can do to help in the fight against drunk and drugged driving.

Despite some encouraging results in recent years from many community-based efforts to curtail drunk and drugged driving, 45 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in 1992 were alcohol-related, and about 80 percent of these involved a legally intoxicated driver or pedestrian. For 1992, that meant that alcohol was a factor in approximately 17,700 traffic deaths. Drunk driving remains our number one highway safety problem, requiring comprehensive State and local actions to reduce and prevent these unnecessary tragedies. Reductions in alcohol-related accidents will also be powerful medicine in the Nation's attempts to lower health care costs. Just reducing the percentage of alcohol-related fatalities from 45 to 43 percent of total annual traffic fatalities -- and related injuries by a proportionate amount -- would save 1,200 lives.

Each of us can help prevent drunk and drugged drivers from exacting their terrible toll in lives, suffering, and related health care costs by refusing to tolerate drunk and drugged driving in our community, by insisting that local police aggressively enforce anti-drunk and anti-drugged driving laws, and by encouraging other citizens to become involved in these activities.



We also need to realize that the combination of legal or illegal drugs and alcohol is especially hazardous and contributes to loss of control, loss of judgment, and certainly, loss of the ability to safely navigate a vehicle.

In order to promote more citizen involvement in prevention efforts and in order to increase awareness of the seriousness of the threat to our lives and safety, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 122, has designated the month of December 1993 as "National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 1993 as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. I ask all Americans to reaffirm their commitment to make drunk and drugged driving unacceptable and to take steps to intervene when necessary to stop anyone impaired by alcohol or drugs from getting behind the wheel. I also call upon public officials at all levels and interested citizens and groups to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities as an expression of their commitment to educate and stop would-be drunk and drugged drivers in their communities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.


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