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Statement by U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater on .08 BAC Provision In Transportation Appropriations Conference Committee Report

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

Statement by U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater on .08 BAC Provision In Transportation Appropriations Conference Committee Report

U.S. Department of Transportation
October 3, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 3, 2000
Contact: Bill Adams
Telephone: 202-366-5580
DOT 189-00
(Revised 6:59pm)

The report by the conferees on the Fiscal Year 2001 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is good news and an important victory for transportation safety. I am particularly pleased that it includes a tough provision for states that do not enact laws setting .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the threshold for drunk driving. When signed by President Clinton, this provision will help prevent highway crashes, save lives and prevent injuries. I applaud the conferees for their hard work and determination in resolving this issue for the good of all Americans.

I particularly wish to commend Congressman Frank Wolf and Senators Richard Shelby and Frank Lautenberg for their leadership on this issue.

We at the Department have long been urging states to adopt .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration as a national standard. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been stalwart in their support. Such laws have been shown to reduce drunk driving by taking impaired drivers off the road. Withholding highway construction funds in states that do not adopt .08 BAC laws, as provided for in today’s conference report, will help convince states to take this tougher approach to drunk driving by enacting .08 BAC laws. (2 percent in 2004, 4 percent in 2005, 6 percent in 2006 and 8 percent thereafter.)

I want to especially acknowledge the years of effort by Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman Nita Lowey in bringing to the forefront the need for strong legislation to make .08 BAC the national standard for drunk driving. I also thank Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety for the invaluable roles they have played on this issue.

With the work of this conference committee concluded, I look forward to working with Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives as they complete work on transportation appropriations legislation that will continue to provide Americans a transportation system that is safe, sustainable and second to none.

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