Executive Order 2971

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By virtue of the Act of Congress entitled "An Act extending certain privileges of canal employees to other officials on the Canal Zone and authorizing the President to make rules and regulations affecting health, sanitation, quarantine, taxation, public roads, self-propelled vehicles, and police powers on the Canal Zone, and for other purposes, including provision as to certain fees, money orders and interest deposits," approved August 21, 1916, I hereby establish the following Executive Order for the Canal Zone:

Section 1. That hereafter it shall be unlawful for any person to operate any automobile over the streets and roads of the Canal Zone without first having obtained a license as hereinafter provided.

Section 2. Each person desiring to obtain a license to operate an automobile over the streets and roads of the Canal Zone shall make written application to the Executive Secretary of The Panama Canal, stating therein his nationality, age, and experience in the operation of automobiles, whether operated by gasoline, electricity, or other motive power; and his application must be endorsed by two reputable citizens of the Canal Zone or of the city of Panama or Colon, Republic of Panama, vouching for his sobriety and trustworthiness. The Executive Secretary shall thereupon cause the applicant to be examined touching his knowledge of gasoline and electric motors and machinery, and of the mechanism and operation of automobiles, as well as in respect to the road laws and regulations of the Canal Zone; and the applicant may be required to make a practical demonstration of his ability to operate an automobile.

Section 3. No person shall be granted a chauffeur's license unless he is 18 years of age or more, is of sober habits, and is able to read either the English or Spanish language, and shall prove to the satisfaction of the examiners that he has the knowledge, skill, and judgment necessary for the safe and skillful driving and handling of automobiles.

Section 4. The persons detailed by the Executive Secretary to examine applicants under this order shall meet at Balboa Heights or Cristobal, or at such other points in the Canal Zone as the Executive Secretary may from time to time designate, and shall examine all applicants whose applications have been referred to them, and shall make a report upon such examinations to the Executive Secretary with their recommendations as to the fitness of the applicants to operate automobiles over the streets and roads of the Canal Zone. The Executive Secretary shall cause a record to be kept of all applications, together with the reports of the examiners in each case and any other papers relating thereto. If the report of the examiners is favorable to the applicant, the Executive Secretary may issue to such applicant a chauffeur's license in form substantially as follows:



Whereas, it has been reported to me by the duly appointed examiners that ................................................. has given satisfactory evidence to said examiners that he is a skillful chauffeur or operator of automobiles, and can be entrusted to perform the duties of chauffeur upon the streets and roads of the Canal Zone, he is, therefore, licensed to act as such chauffeur until such time as this license may, for cause, be revoked.

Witness my hand this .......................... day of ..............................................., 191..


Executive Secretary, The Panama Canal.

The license issued hereunder shall continue in force until revoked for cause, as hereinafter provided for.

Section 5. When the Executive Secretary issues a chauffeur's license he shall thereupon cause to be issued to the licensee either a card, check, or badge, as may be determined from time to time by regulations of the Governor of The Panama Canal, and in such form as the latter may designate. The licensee shall be charged a fee of one dollar ($1) for such license, to be paid to the Collector of The Panama Canal; provided, that no fee shall be charged for licenses issued to chauffeurs who only operate automobiles belonging to or controlled by The Panama Canal or other agency of the United States or the Panama Railroad Company.

Applicants for licenses to operate automobiles belonging to or controlled by any government agency or the Panama Railroad Company need not be endorsed by two citizens as provided in Section 2 hereof for other applicants, but such applications shall be endorsed by the chief of the office, division, or unit in which the applicant is employed.

Upon the request of any Canal Zone police officer it shall be the duty of every licensee hereunder, while in charge of any automobile on the Canal Zone streets or roads, to exhibit to such officer the card, check or badge so issued to him.

Section 6. The Executive Secretary is hereby authorized to revoke for cause any license issued hereunder or heretofore issued.

Section 7. The Governor of The Panama Canal is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations from time to time to carry out this order. The licenses, cards, checks and badges heretofore issued in conformity with preexisting laws, shall continue to be effective unless revoked for cause.

Section 8. Any person who operates an automobile over the streets and roads of the Canal Zone without first having obtained a license as provided for under this order, or who fails to comply with the other requirements of this order or of the regulations of the Governor issued pursuant to this order, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not to exceed $25 or by imprisonment in jail not to exceed thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the court's discretion, as authorized by the above-mentioned Act of Congress.

Section 9. The ordinance enacted by the Isthmian Canal Commission of April 15, 1911, entitled "Ordinance providing for the licensing of chauffeurs for automobiles," the ordinance enacted by the Isthmian Canal Commission dated February 3, 1914, "Amending Section 8 of Ordinance providing for the licensing of Chauffeurs for automobiles," and all other ordinances, orders and regulations, or parts thereof, in conflict with this order are hereby repealed.

Section 10. This order shall take effect thirty days from and after its publication in The Panama Canal Record.[1]

Signature of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson 

The White House,

9 October, 1918.


  1. Published in the Panama Canal Record of November 13, 1918.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).