Preventing Crashes on America’s Highways: Dorr Foundation, 1952

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


The Dorr Foundation was established with the initial purpose of supporting the fields of chemistry and metallurgy exclusively. Inspired by the complaints of his wife, however, Dr. Dorr steered the foundation’s resources and his own efforts toward the traffic hazards of night-time and bad-weather driving. Mrs. Dorr complained that, in poor driving conditions, headlight glare from oncoming traffic led drivers to hug the center line or to swerve away from the center line and into the soft shoulder of the highway, resulting in a high frequency of accidents in both cases. Dorr became convinced that a shoulder line marking the division between the road lane and the shoulder would significantly reduce such hazards.
The Dorr Foundation served as a clearing house for information on the white shoulder line. It issued bulletins in which it reported new tests, as well as new states and regions applying the white lines to road shoulders. The Foundation also reprinted and distributed copies of early studies conducted in Connecticut. The Foundation, primarily through Dr. Dorr, also worked with a number of safety groups and state highway departments, including the President’s Action Committee for Traffic Safety, the Highway Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Federal Bureau of Public Roads, to promote white shoulder lines.



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