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Vice President Gore Announces $71 Million in Incentive Grants To Deter Drunk Driving

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Vice President Gore Announces $71 Million in Incentive Grants To Deter Drunk Driving

NHTSA
September 3, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 60-98
September 3, 1998
Contact: Mike Russell
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

Vice President Gore today announced incentive grants totaling more than $71 million for states to help deter drinking and driving. The grants will be awarded under provisions of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which President Clinton signed into law June 9 and which authorized more than $700 million in federal grants to states over the next six years to combat drunk driving.

"Safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority, and these grants are an important step toward preventing alcohol-related traffic crashes," Vice President Gore said. "The states receiving these funds are already working hard to combat drunk driving, and these grants will help even more."

The grants are authorized by two different sections of TEA-21. About $49 million will be awarded under the new "Section 163" program. This section authorizes $500 million in federal grants to states over six years as an incentive to enact and enforce laws that make it a drunk driving offense per se to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. This supports the President's effort to make .08 BAC the national standard for drunk driving.

"A strong message and tough state laws are bringing about an important change in society's attitude toward drunk driving, but we must continue our efforts to reduce the number of these crashes and the tragedies associated with them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater.

Another $22 million in federal incentive grants will be awarded under "Section 410." This program, which encourages states to enact and enforce other programs that deter drunk driving, was expanded by TEA-21. It authorizes $219.5 million, the highest level Section 410 has ever received, to states over six years.

Fifteen states will be awarded incentive grants under the "Section 163" program because they have enacted and are enforcing .08 BAC per se laws. These states already have .08 BAC laws. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia will be awarded incentive grants under "Section 410" to adopt other programs to deter drinking and driving. These 38 states include the 15 states receiving .08 BAC grants.

The states receiving both grants are Alabama, $2.7 million under the .08 BAC provision plus $439,000 for other programs to deter drunk driving; California, $14.9 million plus $3.1 million; Florida, $6.8 million plus $1.3 million; Hawaii, $775,000 plus $163,000; Idaho, $1 million plus $196,000; Illinois, $6.4 million plus $1.4 million; Kansas, $2.4 million plus $336,000; Maine, $775,000 plus $127,000; New Hampshire, $775,000 plus $182,000; New Mexico, $1.2 million plus $254,000; North Carolina, $3.9 million plus $635,000; Oregon, $2 million plus $460,000; Utah, $1.2 million plus $222,000; Vermont, $775,000 plus $229,000; and Virginia, $3.4 million plus $560,000.

In addition, Alaska will receive $127,000 under the Section 410 incentive grant program; Arizona, $350,000; Arkansas, $294,000; Colorado, $416,000; Connecticut, $234,000; District of Columbia, $145,000; Georgia, $740,000; Indiana, $630,000; Iowa, 380,000; Kentucky, 380,000; Maryland, $566,000; Michigan, 990,000; Minnesota, $674,000; Mississippi, $259,000; Missouri, $565,000; Nebraska, $298,000; Nevada, $182,000; New Jersey, $532,000; North Dakota, $209,000; Pennsylvania, $1.2 million; Tennessee, $421,000; Texas, $1.4 million; Washington, $663,000; and Wisconsin, $683,000.

Funds provided as .08 BAC grants may be used to support a variety of highway safety programs ranging from encouraging seat belt use and special traffic enforcement programs to motorcycle safety education. These grant funds also may be used for highway construction. Funds provided under the "Section 410" provision may be used to support only anti-drunk driving efforts such as providing retailer and alcohol-server training programs, buying videotape equipment for police vehicles to record drunk driving arrests, and supporting sobriety checkpoints.

The annual percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States dropped to an historic low last year. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1975 that alcohol-related deaths dropped below 40 percent of the total. In 1997, 16,189 traffic fatalities -- 38.6 percent -- were alcohol-related out of a total of 41,967.

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