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Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Reports on Highway, Traffic, and Motor Vehicle Safety Programs.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Reports on Highway, Traffic, and Motor Vehicle Safety Programs.

President Richard Nixon
October 30, 1973


To the Congress of the United States:

Ever since the Highway Safety and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts were passed in 1966, the fatality rate on our Nation's highways has been falling. In 1967, the number of deaths per 100 million miles driven was 5.5. By 1972 it had dropped by 18 percent to 4.5.

A wide range of programs have contributed to this decrease, programs designed to increase the safety of our highways, our motor vehicles and the driving habits of our motorists. The full impact of many of these safety programs still has not been felt, and there is reason for us to expect still greater progress in the future.

Unfortunately, the success we have enjoyed in reducing the fatality rate has not been extended to reducing the total number of highway deaths. In 1967, 53,000 persons died in motor vehicle accidents of various kinds. By 1972 that annual toll had risen to an estimated 57,000--a truly shocking level.

The discrepancy between 'the falling rate of fatalities and the rising number of deaths is explained, of course, by the fact that the number of vehicle miles driven in this country increased by more than 300 billion between 1967 and 1972. The total mileage driven in 1972 was 1.25 trillion. In short, our safety measures, effective as they have been, have not been able to hold in check the total number of highway deaths occasioned by the vastly greater use of our highways.

My Administration is profoundly committed to the cause of highway safety. The annual toll which traffic accidents take in lives and in injuries is more than any society should have to bear. And the annual financial cost of traffic accidents is now estimated at nearly $50 billion.

It is my hope that this three-volume report on the Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1966, by reviewing the challenge of traffic safety and by detailing our efforts to meet it, will increase our awareness and enhance our effectiveness in this vital field.

RICHARD NIXON
The White House,
October 30, 1973.

Note: The reports are entitled:

"Traffic Safety '72: A Report on the Activities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration under the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966" (Government Printing Office, 63 pp. ).

"Traffic Safety '72: A Report on Activities Under the Highway Safety Act" (Government Printing Office, 88 pp. plus appendixes).

"Traffic Safety '72: A Report on Activities Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act" (Government Printing Office, 78 pp. plus appendixes).



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