Despite much progress in highway safety, the death toll still is rising from one year to the next. Why do we mindlessly accept it? Why don’t we rally together and conquer this dreadful enemy of innocent lives?
September 9 marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Federal Highway Safety Act of 1966:
According to the July 15, 1966, Public Works committee report on the House version of the bill (H.R. 13290), each state must “have a highway safety program approved by the [Secretary of Commerce] . . . in accordance with uniform standards to be approved by the Secretary.” The legislation addressed a broad range of issues: driver education; licensing; pedestrian performance; vehicle registration and inspection; traffic control; highway design and maintenance; accident prevention, investigation, and record keeping; and emergency services. Congress authorized funds for distribution to the states, with a requirement that each state implement a highway safety program by December 31, 1968, or suffer a 10 percent reduction in apportioned funds. The legislation enjoyed strong, bipartisan support in the House. Chairman Fallon stated, “[This bill] continues the policy of meaningful cooperation between the States and the Federal Government on highway matters. I believe it is a firm step forward in the struggle to save lives, and I urge that we act with strong voice to put it into effect.” The measure passed the House by a vote of 318-3, and President Johnson signed the Highway Safety Act into law on September 9, 1966.
I only wish that we could get that same kind of support for the appointment of a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman and a nationwide network of citizens active in community Traffic Safety Advocacy Groups in 2016!
Yet, according to a recent FairWarning article, Miles to Go on Highway Safety, we are far from acting as responsibly and conscientiously as we would if we really cared about saving innocent lives from preventable vehicle violence — and that includes the oversight of “self-driving” vehicle technology development!