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THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS

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* WINNERS: American motorists. Even though they are driving more, there are fewer highway fatalities. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that for the first time in 30 years, the nationwide toll has dipped below 40,000 - thanks to seat belts, motorcycle helmets and tougher drunken driving laws.

LOSERS: Utah motorists. A survey by the State Health Department indicates that over a month's time about one in four Utah drinkers may have driven after having consumed four or more drinks. Some people never learn.* WINNER: The National Collegiate Athletic Association - for imposing tougher eligibility requirements on college athletes. As a result, more and more of the athletes are graduating from college - making them big winners, too.

* WINNERS: Public health organizations - for virtually wiping out polio. The crippling disease has been eradicated in the Western Hemisphere. But elsewhere it still cripples an estimated 120,000 victims a year, mostly children. That's why health professionals are calling for a $1 billion, worldwide vaccination program. Unless polio is eliminated elsewhere, it could return to the United States.

* WINNER: Railroad engineer Larry DuBoise of Winslow, Ariz. Relying on split-second reflexes, he climbed onto the front of a moving train and saved the life of an 18-month-old boy on the tracks. Bravo!

* WINNER: The world. It's a safer place because there are fewer acts of terrorist violence. The latest figures show a decline in such incidents from 650 in 1987 to 361 last year. Nearly 40 percent of those were directed at American targets but almost all of them occurred outside the United States.

POTENTIAL LOSER: The world. Despite the worldwide decline in terrorism, the problem is expected to escalate due to the resurgence of regional and ethnic conflicts around the globe.