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Letter to Secretary Hodges on Highway Safety.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Letter to Secretary Hodges on Highway Safety.

President Lyndon B. Johnson
March 23, 1964


Dear Mr. Secretary:

The death of 43,400 Americans in traffic accidents last year is a matter of serious national concern. There is an obvious and urgent need for a program to improve our highway safety rapidly and significantly. As a nation, we cannot continue to tolerate this drain on our resources, and as human beings, we cannot continue to tolerate this terrible pain, suffering and loss of life.

The Federal Government should, therefore, take all appropriate steps to reduce this carnage. Because of the responsibilities of your Department's Bureau of Public Roads in this area, I am designating you to undertake immediately an accelerated attack on traffic accidents in this country. State and local governments should be encouraged and assisted in developing priority safety programs giving special attention to hazards on highways with high-accident experience.

I understand that such a safety priority program can be undertaken within the present Federal-aid program and the resources of the Highway Trust Fund without cost to the general taxpayer.

In a society such as ours where human life and health is valued so highly, there is a special obligation to use our scientific abilities to bring this problem of highway traffic safety under control.

Please keep me advised of the steps taken and of the results of your intensive traffic safety campaign.

Sincerely,

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

[Honorable Luther H. Hodges, Secretary of Commerce, Washington, D.C.]

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