Proclamation 5186 -- Student Awareness of Drunk Driving Month, 1984

May 3, 1984

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

As school sessions come to a close, students will have greater opportunities to drive on our streets and highways. Students, like all motor vehicle operators, have a responsibility to adhere to the principle of ``safety first.'' Driving while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is destructive not only to the irresponsible driver, but to others -- those who are injured or killed in the resulting motor vehicle accidents. Whether the victims are close friends or total strangers, the injury and loss of life are tragic.

We are losing lives unnecessarily, and the economic cost to America is billions of dollars each year. These statistics cannot reflect the devastating grief of families and friends as they view the senseless loss of their loved ones. This grief is repeated many times. Alcohol-related accidents kill twenty-five thousand persons each year.

Our young people are particularly vulnerable when they combine youthful exuberance and lack of driving experience with alcohol- or drug-impaired judgment and reflexes. Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death for our young people between 16 and 24 years of age.

Fortunately, there has been a ground swell of awareness and action through such initiatives as the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD), and the activities of numerous other citizens groups. Also, over the last decade the U.S. Department of Education has developed alcohol and drug abuse education programs which have reached approximately five million students and indirectly affected millions more.

To emphasize the combined efforts of the Government and private sector organizations to combat the hazards of drunk driving to the youth of our Nation, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 443, has designated the month of June 1984 as ``Student Awareness of Drunk Driving Month.''

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of June 1984 as Student Awareness of Drunk Driving Month. I encourage all citizens to observe this important month by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities planned by governmental agencies, individuals, and private associations and institutions throughout the country to educate our young people about the tragic consequences of drunk driving.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:21 p.m., May 3, 1984]