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STATEMENT BY U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY SLATER ON ADOPTION BY TEXAS OF .08 BAC AS THE STANDARD FOR DRUNK DRIVING

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

STATEMENT BY U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY SLATER ON ADOPTION BY TEXAS OF .08 BAC AS THE STANDARD FOR DRUNK DRIVING

NHTSA
June 1, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NHTSA 24-99

Tuesday, June 1, 1999 Contact: Kathryn Henry

Telephone: 202-366-9550

I applaud the state of Texas for adopting .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the standard for drunk driving for adults, and I commend the Texas legislature for passing the .08 measure, and Governor George W. Bush for supporting President Clinton's commitment that .08 BAC be the law of the nation and signing the bill.

President Clinton has fought for tough drunk driving legislation and has encouraged states to adopt .08 BAC as the national standard for drunk driving. Research shows that, at .08 BAC, virtually all drivers, even experienced alcohol drinkers, are substantially impaired with regard to critical driving tasks. The risk of a crash increases with each drink, but goes up significantly at .08 BAC and beyond. Texas is the 17th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to adopt .08 BAC as the threshold for drunk driving for adults. Most industrialized nations of the world also have a standard of .08 BAC or less.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released three studies which, in total, provide additional support that .08 laws are effective in reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities, particularly when they work in conjunction with other laws such as administrative license revocation. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century authorizes incentive grants for states which have the .08 standard, and Texas could be eligible for approximately $9 million.

The .08 BAC measure will send a strong message to drivers in Texas that the state is serious about impaired driving. With strict enforcement, the .08 law will work in conjunction with other laws in Texas, such as the administration license revocation provision passed in 1993, to reduce impaired driving and decrease the more than 1,700 alcohol-related fatalities that occur annually on Texas highways.

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