Better Driving

April 17, 1957

Report Outline
Automobile Drivers And the Traffic Toll
Human Factor in Automobile Accidents
Education and Re-Education of Drivers
Law Enforcement and Better Driving

Automobile Drivers And the Traffic Toll

The continuing high toll of traffic accidents all over the United States is leading to widespread tightening of driver regulations and to tougher enforcement of rules of the road. It is becoming harder to get and keep a driver's license. Stiffer and more comprehensive fitness-to-drive tests are being developed in more and more of the states. More driver training courses are being set up for teen-agers and for chronic traffic offenders. Motorists can look forward to more extensive policing of highways, to wider use of radar and unmarked police cars to clock unsuspecting speeders, to more frequent prosecution of traffic offenders in court, and to a readier disposition on the part of the authorities to suspend or revoke the licenses of drivers who get into trouble.

Safety education campaigns have failed to bring about the hoped-for reduction in traffic accidents. The toll in 1956 was the heaviest in history; ten million accidents killed 40,200 persons, injured 1.4 million more, and caused property losses of $4.7 billion. Last year's four-day Christmas week-end alone took 706 lives. Increased use of automobiles has added nearly 5,000 lives to the annual highway toll since 1954. The death rate in relation to miles traveled, which declined steadily for years, began to level off after 1955. If automobile accidents keep up at the present rate, nearly half a million persons will be killed in traffic, and 16 million injured, during the next ten years.

Traffic experts have come to the conclusion that generalized appeals to drive carefully are not effective, at least not permanently effective. It has been noted, for instance, that on the highly publicized “Safe Driving Day” of Dec. 1, 1955, a total of 69 persons lost their lives in traffic accidents—18 more than the number killed on the same day a year earlier.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jun. 19, 2020  Fuel Efficiency Standards
Feb. 01, 2019  Self-Driving Cars
Feb. 17, 2017  Reducing Traffic Deaths
Jul. 25, 2014  Future of Cars
Feb. 06, 2009  Auto Industry's Future Updated
May 16, 2003  SUV Debate
Oct. 26, 2001  Auto Safety
Jan. 21, 2000  Auto Industry's Future
Jul. 25, 1997  Aggressive Driving
Oct. 16, 1992  U.S. Auto Industry
Apr. 27, 1990  Curbing Auto-Insurance Premiums
Jul. 14, 1989  Automakers Face Trouble Down the Road
Aug. 31, 1984  U.S. Auto Industry: Strategies for Survival
Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
May 10, 1974  Auto Industry in Flux
Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
Motor Traffic Safety