The percentage of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers dropped to a record low in 1997, but still made up more than one-third of automobile deaths, the Department of Transportation reported. There were 16,189 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 1997, 38.6% of total traffic fatalities. That was a decrease of about 1,000 deaths from 1996, when drunken driving was responsible for 40.9% of the 42,065 traffic deaths. Washington hailed the figures as evidence that measures such as zero-tolerance laws for young drivers have helped curb drunk driving. "This is good news, but we must continue to do more to ensure that this decline continues," President Clinton said.