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Public Papers - 1989

Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Reports on Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety


To the Congress of the United States:

The Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, both enacted in 1966, initiated a national effort to reduce traffic deaths and injuries and require annual reports on the administration of the Acts. This is the 21st year that these reports have been prepared.

The report on motor vehicle safety includes the annual reporting requirement in Title I of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972 (bumper standards).

In the Highway Safety Acts of 1973, 1976, and 1978, the Congress expressed its special interest in certain aspects of traffic safety that are addressed in the volume on highway safety.

The national outrage against drunk drivers, combined with growing safety belt use and voluntary cooperation we have received from all sectors of American life, have brought about even more improvements in traffic safety.

In addition, despite large increases in the number of drivers and vehicles, the Federal standards and programs for motor vehicle and highway safety instituted since 1966 have contributed to a significant reduction in the fatality rate per 100 million miles of travel. The rate decreased from 5.5 in the mid-60's to the 1987 level of 2.4, the lowest in our history.

The important progress we have made is, of course, no consolation to the relatives and friends of those 46,386 people who, despite the safety advances and greater public awareness, lost their lives in 1987. But it is indicative of the positive trend established toward making our roads safer.

The loss of approximately 127 lives per day on our Nation's highways is still too high. Also, with the increasing motor vehicle travel, we are faced with the threat of an even higher number of traffic fatalities. Therefore, there is a continuing need for effective motor vehicle and highway safety programs.

We will continue to pursue highway and motor vehicle safety programs that are most effective in reducing deaths and injuries. We are convinced that significant progress in traffic safety can be achieved through the combined efforts of government, industry, and the public.

George Bush

The White House,

February 28, 1989.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
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