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SPEED CONTESTS ON HIGHWAYS BARRED

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Automobile Club of America

SPEED CONTESTS ON HIGHWAYS BARRED

The New York Times
June 4, 1902


Decisive Action of the Automobile Club of America.

Resolutions Deplore the Fatal Accident at Record Trials on Staten Island—Licenses for Race Meets.

No more speed contests on public highways will be held by the Automobile Club of America.  That decision was reached yesterday after a prolonged meeting of the Board of Governors, held in the offices of President Albert R. Shattuck, 11 Broadway.  The formal resolution embodying this decision of the club was given out after the meeting and is:

Whereas, The Automobile Club of America deeply regrets and deplores the terrible accident which occurred during the holding of the record trials by this club on Staten Island on May 31 last,

Resolved, That although similar trials have been heretofore held throughout the world without serious accident, yet this accident upon Saturday, notwithstanding every safeguard that precaution could suggest was adopted, has convinced the governors of the club that it is unwise to hold speed trials with automobiles on the public highways, and that the Governors of this club will not hold or consent to the holding of such contests by the club.


President Shattuck and Jefferson Seligman, of the Board of Governors, afterward went to the rooms of the club, at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-eighth Street, where they attended a regular monthly meeting of the American Automobile Association.  No formal action was taken regarding speed races.  The association came out strongly in regard to lending its sanction to race meets.  The point was brought up in view of the fact that a series of track races has been announced to be held on Saturday, June 21, at the Brighton Beach track, and it was stated that they would be conducted under the racing rules of the Automobile Club of America.

It was resolved that in order to secure the sanction of a reputable automobile body for race meets, it will be necessary hereafter to obtain a license from the American Automobile Association.  These licenses will not be granted to any but bona fide clubs or associations which are devoted to the interests of automobiles.

It was learned after the meeting that a license had been refused for the Brighton Beach events, which are to be held under the auspices of the National Automobile Racing Association.  When licenses are granted they must also be approved by the Racing Committee of the association.

President Shattuck said that the action of the Governors of the club in coming out definitely against speed races was unanimous.

"I have felt very badly about the accident on Saturday," said Mr. Shattuck.  "I feel so strongly upon it that hereafter I am opposed to automobile races or speed tests of any description.

Action against any great legal speed for automobiles was taken at a meeting held on Monday evening at the residence of Cyrus Clark, President of the West End Association.  Invitation have been sent out for a meeting to be held to-morrow night at the Bar Association, when decisive steps will be taken to check reckless automobiling in the crowded city streets.



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