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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Joins First Lady, Mothers Against Drunk Driving to "Tie One on For Safety"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Joins First Lady, Mothers Against Drunk Driving to "Tie One on For Safety"

NHTSA
December 20, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 20, 2000
Contact: Kathryn Henry
Telephone: 202-366-9550
NHTSA 58-00

Marking the anniversary of his nomination, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today joined First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) President Millie I. Webb at the White House in tying a red ribbon to a local family’s car to encourage all Americans to join in the fight against impaired driving this holiday season.

It was four years ago today that President Clinton nominated Slater to be the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and he used the occasion to re-emphasize his commitment to safety, which was the top priority that he set then.

"Thanks to MADD and partners like it, we have been successful in driving home the message that drunk driving is unacceptable," Secretary Slater said. "Our emphasis on transportation safety, with assistance from President Clinton, the First Lady, and Vice President Gore, continues to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries in alcohol-related crashes."

Alcohol-related fatalities dropped significantly in recent years, but they still account for 38 percent of all crash fatalities. In 1996, 41 percent of traffic fatalities in the United States were alcohol-related, and in 1992, the rate was 45 percent. Last year, nearly 16,000 people died and more than 305,000 were injured in alcohol-related crashes.

Secretary Slater commended MADD for leading the nation in ‘tying one on for safety’ and reminding Americans that impaired driving is one hundred percent preventable. The Tie One On For Safety campaign is MADD’s largest public awareness program, and encourages motorists to tie a ribbon to their automobiles as a reminder to drive safe and sober. The event is part of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, proclaimed by President Clinton earlier this month.

Secretary Slater encouraged everyone this holiday season to help keep drunk drivers off the road. "Abstaining from drinking and driving, stopping a friend or loved one from doing so, and wearing a seat belt is your best defense against impaired drivers," Secretary Slater said.

Earlier this month, MADD joined the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) to launch the largest-ever nationwide enforcement mobilization to get impaired drivers off the road. As part of the You Drink & Drive. You Lose campaign, thousands of law enforcement officers in all 50 states operated sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. For more information on the You Drink & Drive. You Lose campaign, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website at

Also expected to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries is a provision in the 2001 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which was signed by President Clinton on Oct. 23, 2000, and which will help states take drivers impaired by alcohol off the roads. The law requires the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to withhold, beginning in fiscal year 2004, certain federal highway construction funds from states that do not adopt and enforce a .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) standard as the level at or beyond which a driver is too impaired to drive safely. This is expected to save hundreds of lives per year when all states have adopted .08 BAC as the threshold. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now have .08 BAC as the limit.

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