US Stamps

Mystery solved: Readers explain ‘Remember S-D Day’ label

Feb 24, 2017, 12 PM
The meaning of S-D Day on this 1955 postcard label relates to Safe Driving. Thanks to the 35 Linn’s readers who wrote in with the answer or guesses.

U.S. Stamp Notes — By John M. Hotchner

What is SD Day? Safe Driving Day! Of course, it makes perfect sense.

Thirty-five Linn’s readers responded to that question after I posed it in a U.S. Stamp Notes column posted to Feb. 18, 2016, about the “Remember S-D Day December 1” label on a 1955 postcard.

Those who replied included Gary Baker, Ryan Baum, Arthur Beals, Roy Berliner, Dana Berry, Louis Borowicz Jr., Jack Coupal, Walter Cunningham, Tom Delcano, Bryan Dunne and Charles Epting.

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Also replying were Gordon Eubanks, Bruce Fisher, Leif Gellein, Warren Glaser, Matthew Heller, Richard Ivins, Royce Jones, Howard Kamil, Ron Lesher, Gary Loew, Robert Margulski, and Alan Moll.

Finally, John O’Brien, John Petrucelli Jr., Todd Ronnei, Christopher Ruder, Norman Rushefsky, Bill Sammis, Michael Stevens, Ed Titley, Mike Vining, Bert Woodruff, Gene Zhiss, and Steve Zirinsky answered my question. 

The overwhelming majority correctly identified this as the second running of Safe Driving Day, an effort inaugurated in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower to reduce fatalities and accidents on our nation’s streets and highways.

Judging by the statistics of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the effort was not a resounding success. There were 33,890 deaths on American highways in 1954; 36,688 in 1955, and 37,965 in 1956.

This number did drop to 36,932 in 1957, but there had been no Safe Driving Day in 1956 or beyond.

After climbing into the 54,000 range in 1972-73, there has been a slow but steady decrease in yearly deaths, despite a substantial increase in miles traveled, population, and numbers of motor vehicles on the roads. We can thank lower speed limits, safer cars and more driver training at all age levels. 

The last year for which I have a figure is 2014, and it was 32,675 — not a great record in absolute terms; but better than it might be. Perhaps we need to try Safe Driving Day again?