A Short History of Automotive Safety Program Management, 1900-1970 700350
Highway safety management in the United States is divided into three periods of historical development: an early period, extending from the turn of the century to about 1935; a middle period, from 1935 to 1965; and a current period beginning with the institution of the Highway Safety Act of 1966.
The first two periods were essentially ones of genesis and growth, periods of trial in an attempt to develop some understanding of an extremely complex new social problem rising, as so often is the case, from a major invention of progress. There were repeated, serious attempts at coordinating efforts directed toward highway safety, but such efforts, dependent for the most part upon voluntary cooperation between voluntary organizations, never quite succeeded in accomplishing the desired goal, yet still managed a considerable measure of success. Too many things were lacking, funds primarily, as well as any prior knowledge of the depths of the safety problem. Even today, both continue to be in vital need.
Another limiting factor to success of safety management in these first two periods was the division of the implementation of safety programs between the individual states and municipalities.