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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 19, 2000


A new study released today by Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater underscores the need for Congress to act swiftly to strengthen protections against drunk driving.

The study by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Transportation Safety Administration makes clear that crucial driving skills are seriously impaired when an individual's blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches .08. Simply put, this study lends further proof that at .08, a person is too impaired to safely get behind the wheel. To help stem drunk driving and other safety hazards, the Department is releasing nearly $44 million in highway safety grants to 38 states and the District of Columbia. These grants will provide important incentives for states to save lives through tough programs and penalties to reduce drunk driving and increase seat belt use.

But we must do more to make our streets and highways safer. In the Transportation Appropriations conference report, Congress has the opportunity right now to save an estimated 500 lives a year by setting a nationwide standard of .08 BAC. The Senate courageously passed this life-saving measure in June thanks to the leadership of Senators Lautenberg and Shelby. I urge the Congress to send me a final bill that helps make .08 BAC the law of the land without further delay.