A-92382, FEBRUARY 21, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 674

A-92382: Feb 21, 1938

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IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF MEDALS AND INSIGNIA TO BE AWARDED MAIL TRUCK OPERATORS FOR CAREFUL DRIVING. IF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE IS THAT SUCH AWARDS ENCOURAGE "ACCIDENT PREVENTION. IS AS FOLLOWS: IT IS PROPOSED TO AWARD A MEDAL TO THOSE MAIL TRUCK OPERATORS WHO ARE NOT INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT OVER A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. IT IS FURTHER PROPOSED THAT A STAR OR SOME OTHER INSIGNIA BE AWARDED TO SUCH EMPLOYEES FOR EACH ADDITIONAL YEAR OF SERVICE WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF THAT APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE FOUND NECESSARY TO PURCHASE THE NECESSARY MEDALS AND INSIGNIA FOR USE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH ABOVE. THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE HELD THAT APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF MEDALS.

A-92382, FEBRUARY 21, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 674

APPROPRIATIONS - "VEHICLE SERVICE," POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR MEDALS AND INSIGNIA FOR "ACCIDENT PREVENTION" THE APPROPRIATION "VEHICLE SERVICE" MADE BY THE POST OFFICE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1938, 50 STAT. 155, FOR "ACCIDENT PREVENTION," ETC., IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF MEDALS AND INSIGNIA TO BE AWARDED MAIL TRUCK OPERATORS FOR CAREFUL DRIVING, IF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE IS THAT SUCH AWARDS ENCOURAGE "ACCIDENT PREVENTION," BUT THE APPROPRIATION MAY NOT BE USED FOR MONETARY REWARDS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, FEBRUARY 21, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 3, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS PROPOSED TO AWARD A MEDAL TO THOSE MAIL TRUCK OPERATORS WHO ARE NOT INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT OVER A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. IT IS FURTHER PROPOSED THAT A STAR OR SOME OTHER INSIGNIA BE AWARDED TO SUCH EMPLOYEES FOR EACH ADDITIONAL YEAR OF SERVICE WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT. THE MEDALS AND INSIGNIA PROPOSED TO BE USED WOULD BE INEXPENSIVE, THE SOLE IDEA IN MAKING THESE AWARDS BEING TO ENCOURAGE CAREFUL DRIVING IN FURTHERANCE OF A CAMPAIGN NOW BEING CONDUCTED TO REDUCE AND PREVENT ACCIDENTS.

THE POST OFFICE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1938 READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"VEHICLE SERVICE, 1938.--- FOR VEHICLE SERVICE; THE HIRE OF VEHICLES; THE RENTAL OF GARAGE FACILITIES; THE PURCHASE, EXCHANGE, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR OF MOTOR VEHICLES; ACCIDENT REVENTION; * * *.'

IN VIEW OF THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE PERTINENT PROVISION OF THE VEHICLE SERVICE APPROPRIATION ACT, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF THAT APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE FOUND NECESSARY TO PURCHASE THE NECESSARY MEDALS AND INSIGNIA FOR USE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH ABOVE.

THE WORDS "ACCIDENT PREVENTION" APPEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ITEM ,VEHICLE SERVICE," ACT OF MAY 14, 1937, 50 STAT. 162. THE HEARINGS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, ETC., DO NOT DISCLOSE ANY SPECIFIC PLAN OR PROGRAM OF ACCIDENT PREVENTION PROPOSED TO BE ADOPTED. THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE HELD THAT APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF MEDALS, TROPHIES, INSIGNIA, ETC., IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR MAKING SUCH AWARDS (5 COMP. GEN. 344; 10 ID. 453; 15 ID. 278). IN THE INSTANT MATTER THE TERM "ACCIDENT PREVENTION" IS LARGELY A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATION AS TO THE FORM IT SHOULD TAKE. THE AWARD OF MEDALS OR INSIGNIA FOR SAFE DRIVING IS A GENERALLY RECOGNIZED MEANS OF APPRECIATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE PREVENTING OF ACCIDENTS. IT IS THE NATURE OF A PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATION, PROBABLY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN WRITTEN OR PRINTED APPROBATION, WARNINGS, OR ADMONITIONS. THE AWARDING OF SOME FORM OF MERIT FOR SAFE DRIVING OR THE IMPOSITION OF SOME FORM OF DEMERIT FOR RECKLESS DRIVING HAS BEEN RECOMMENDED BY COURTS, TRAFFIC OFFICERS, AND OTHERS INTERESTED IN OR RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPROVEMENT OF TRAFFIC CONDITIONS AS A MEANS OF DISCOURAGING RECKLESS DRIVING AND DECREASING THE APPALLING NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS AND DEATHS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

YOU ARE INFORMED THAT IF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE SUPPORTS THE CONCLUSION IT WOULD ENCOURAGE "ACCIDENT PREVENTION," THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION MAY REASONABLY BE VIEWED AS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF THE MEDALS AND INSIGNIA TO BE AWARDED MAIL TRUCK OPERATORS, IT BEING UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, THAT NO MONETARY REWARD MAY BE MADE UNDER SAID APPROPRIATION. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION DECISION OF MAY 20, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 613, 614, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

THERE BEING GRAVE DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REGARDING AN APPROPRIATION GENERAL IN TERMS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH REWARDS, AND THE CONGRESS HAVING ON MANY OCCASIONS ACCEPTED THE MATTER AS ONE FOR ITS CONSIDERATION AND EXPRESSION, IT APPEARS THE DUTY OF THIS OFFICE TO REQUIRE THOSE IN ADMINISTRATIVE PLACES WHO DESIRE TO OFFER REWARDS FOR INFORMATION OR OTHER ASSISTANCE TO AID IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF AUTHORIZED WORK, TO SUBMIT THEIR REQUIREMENTS TO THE CONGRESS FOR SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO ALL APPROPRIATIONS HEREAFTER TO BE MADE.