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Letter to the General Chairman of the President's Highway Safety Conference.

August 31, 1950

[ Released August 31, 1950. Dated August 30, 1950 ]

Dear General:

Highway transportation is of the utmost importance to the national defense. It is one of our greatest assets and it must be developed and maintained at the highest point of safety and efficiency that can be achieved. Immediate and continuing action is required to:

1. Conserve manpower, equipment, and materials in every field of production and to develop maximum efficiency in the use of all highway transportation facilities.

2. Provide for coordinated action of State and local officials concerned with highway transportation to assist in the safe and efficient movement of defense commodities and military traffic in the event of total emergency.

The Action Program developed by the President's Highway Safety Conference has proved most successful in the reduction of traffic accidents. The remarkable reduction of the traffic fatality rate from 11.3 per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 1945 to less than 7 during the first 6 months of 1950 is evidence of the effectiveness of the program. Despite the reduction in rate, 15,080 Americans were killed in the first six months of this year--1470 more than died in traffic accidents during the same period last year. In view of vastly increased traffic volume, the need for further application of the Action Program is evident.

The successful coordination developed by the State and Local Officials' National Highway Safety Committee of the President's Highway Safety Conference in implementing the Action Program is proof of the soundness of the Conference organization. It indicates its ability to assist in the safe and efficient movement of increasing amounts of defense materiel and military traffic.

I should like for you, as General Chairman of the Highway Safety Conference, to take the following steps immediately:

1. Re-examine, State by State, the current status of the Action Program of the President's Highway Safety Conference to ascertain weaknesses or deficiencies, and how it has been made effective.

2. Guided by this analysis, request the States, communities and private groups concerned with the problem to increase emphasis on highway safety activities in the interest of conserving manpower, equipment, materials and highway facilities in the light of their increasingly critical importance.

3. Cooperate fully with the Governors' Conference in support of its recent report and resolution on highway transportation.

4. Develop an organizational plan (in cooperation with the appropriate officials of the Department of Defense) for continuing official coordination in States to expedite highway movements in the safest and most efficient manner in the event of an emergency.

Very sincerely yours,


[Major General Philip B. Fleming, General Chairman, President's Highway Safety Conference, Department of Commerce, Washington 25, D.C.]

Harry S Truman, Letter to the General Chairman of the President's Highway Safety Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230187

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