Harry S. Truman photo

Letter to the Governors Convening the Highway Safety Conference.

February 02, 1949

[Released February 2, 1949. Dated January 29, 1949]


I am calling a national meeting of the Highway Safety Conference, the first full-scale session since 1946, to stimulate application of the Action Program in the States, particularly through the adaptation of the Program to the needs of communities and rural areas. The meeting will convene in Washington June 1 to 3.

In my message to the Governors in March 1946 I referred to the "alarming increase in traffic accidents." Now we can point with pride to the gratifying reduction in the traffic fatality rate since our first Conference. The rate of approximately 12 deaths per hundred-million vehicle-miles in the months immediately preceding the 1946 Conference, dropped to 7.7 in 1948. This is the lowest rate in the history of the motor vehicle.

Yet we all know that as a result of the mounting travel on our roads and streets, the traffic death toll still exceeds 30,000 human lives a year. Travel increased 37 per cent from 1945 to 1946 and another 24 per cent to 1948, or a total of 61 per cent in three years.

The problem is still of such magnitude, therefore, that I deem it worthy of our efforts to stimulate public interest and support for the State, county, and municipal officials who have legal responsibility for traffic safety. I urge you as the Chief Executive of________to attend the Conference as head of your_______delegation and to lend it your personal leadership.

Very sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Governors of the States, the Territorial Governors, and the President of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, inviting their participation in the Highway Safety Conference, to be held in Washington June 1-3, 1949. The President also sent letters to Governor William Preston Lane, Jr., of Maryland, and Mayor George W. Welsh of Grand Rapids, Mich., requesting them to serve as vice chairmen of the Conference.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Governors Convening the Highway Safety Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229774

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