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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Dakar, Senegal)
For Immediate Release                                      April 1, 1998

Statement by the President

It is imperative that we set a uniform standard of .08 blood alcohol content to protect our young people from harm, make our streets safer, and help us crack down on drunk driving nationwide. Our country will not tolerate irresponsible acts that endanger our children and our nation.

I am disappointed that the House Rules Committee has decided to keep the critical .08 legislation from coming to the floor under the BESTEA transportation bill. By establishing a strong but sensible limit on blood alcohol content, we could save as many as 600 lives a year. Saving lives and promoting responsibility should not be partisan issues.

Last month, under the leadership of Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. DeWine, the Senate overwhelmingly supported the .08 standard for drinking and driving. The House leadership, however, once again is hiding behind procedural maneuvers by blocking this effort to protect children and help put an end to drunk driving. The American people deserve better than this.

Last night's setback was by no means final. Building on our victory in the Senate we will work to overcome this roadblock by the House Leadership. We will continue the fight against drunk driving on every front. Today, as part of our comprehensive effort, we are announcing grants made possible by the leadership of Senator Byrd that will help combat underage drinking. I stand ready to aid Rep. Lowey and Rep. Canady as they continue their efforts to pass a sensible, uniform DUI standard. We will keep fighting to put the brakes on drunk driving.

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