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Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies

December 24, 1952

Report Outline
Postwar Rise in Highway Casualties
The Machine, the Road, the Driver
National Program to Promote Safer Driving

Postwar Rise in Highway Casualties

Traffic deaths in 1952 are approaching the peak recorded in 1941, when 40,000 people were killed in automobile accidents in the United States. The growing toll is the result of the vastly increased use of the motor car since the end of the war. To meet the challenge of death and injury on the highway, an expanding nationwide program of accident prevention has enlisted the skills of high-ranking technicians from more than a dozen fields. Psychologists are studying driver behavior to determine the true causes of car crashes. Spectacular pile-up accidents on “foolproof” superhighways have brought reconsideration of their design features and yielded new knowledge for use in current construction on the national highway system. Safety leaders will bring organized pressure on the 44 state legislatures meeting in 1953 to improve regulatory legislation aimed at reducing highway accidents. They want greater uniformity of traffic regulations, stricter licensing, tighter law enforcement, more police and driver training, modernization of accident reporting, and an overhaul of courts dealing with traffic violations.

Auto Toll Among Members of Armed Forces

The frequency of highway accidents involving servicemen has engaged the serious attention of all branches of the military establishment. In the first eight months of this year, 668 Army personnel died in traffic accidents—all except 89 of them in private rather than military vehicles. It has been estimated that more than one-fourth the injuries suffered by Air Force personnel are incurred in motor car travel. The danger is particularly acute when servicemen on leave attempt to cover long distances in a few hours, often foregoing sleep to get back to camp in time for early morning reveille.

Active driver-training and traffic safety education programs have been instituted at most of the larger military camps, naval stations, and air training centers in this country. And commandants have issued admonitions against drinking while driving to the large numbers of men who will be on leave during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

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BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Motor Traffic and Roads
Motor Traffic Safety
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