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Statement by the President on Highway Safety.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Statement by the President on Highway Safety.

President Harry S Truman
January 15, 1947

THE PROBLEM of reducing the death rate on the Nation's highways remains one of the most serious problems in our daily life. It is an appalling fact that 34,000 American citizens were killed in automobile accidents in 1946. I therefore call upon every State and every community in the land to work unceasingly throughout 1947 to Promote highway safety.

A continuing safety campaign began in May 1946, with the organization of the President's Highway Safety Conference and the State safety conferences that resulted.1 The gains that have been made are indicative of what can be accomplished by intensive effort.

1 See 1946 volume, this series, Item 106.

We are faced with a challenge which every motor vehicle driver should take as a personal responsibility. Eternal vigilance, conscientious care and maintenance of the motor vehicle, respect for traffic laws and signals--all those can play a part in saving the lives of thousands.

Legislatures of all but eight of the States are now in session or soon will be. It is my hope that the recommendations of the President's Highway Safety Conference with respect to uniform traffic regulations, especially in the licensing of drivers, and strict impartial enforcement of traffic codes, will have early attention. Much of our difficulty is due to lack of uniformity in traffic laws and to unstandardized warning and directional signs which often confuse and mislead.

I ask that all through the year State and local public officials who are charged with legal responsibility in matters of highway safety, and all interested organizations, redouble their efforts. I urge every motorist to remember at all times that highway safety is his personal concern. Laws and regulations will be of little avail unless the individual driver holds himself strictly accountable to his own conscience.

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