Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety.

August 24, 1934

My dear Mr. Secretary:

As chairman Of the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety you are, no doubt, fully familiar with the very decided upward trend in highway fatalities, injuries and property damage in recent months.

I know you had this condition in mind when you called the fourth session of the National Conference during the latter part of last May. I was greatly impressed and pleased with the constructive steps taken, particularly as regards the perfection of the Uniform Motor Vehicle Code. I am more than ever convinced that the adoption of uniform, tested laws and their strict and impartial enforcement must be one of our primary objectives.

I have before me at the moment communications from a large variety of organizations and groups calling attention to the increasing gravity of the situation—attributable perhaps in part to heavier motor vehicle traffic as a result of improved economic conditions. The interest of these groups is in itself a splendid sign and indicates at least that serious thought is being given to the problem. But what we need most is organized and continuing action.

I note that the Governors of many States are issuing proclamations designating September as Safety Month. This should prove helpful if only to the extent that it serves as a focal point for more mobilization. It is also timely, since we are just entering on the period of the year which experience has shown takes the heaviest toll. However, we must steadfastly keep before us that we need more than a Safety Month. We must make every year a Safety Year, every month a Safety Month, and every day a Safety Day. We must attack the problem continuously and energetically in much the same way as we have conducted our attack on the depression.

I am expressing these thoughts so that you may be assured of my full sympathy and cooperation in whatever steps may seem' feasible to you to give a greater degree of direction and force to a coordinated national effort looking to the prevention of largely needless fatalities, injuries and property damage, which we can ill afford at any time, and least of all now.

Very sincerely yours,

Hon. Daniel C. Roper,

The Secretary of Commerce,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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