World's first road death

The victim
On August 17, 1896, Bridget Driscoll, became the first road fatality in the world. She was a 44year old mother with two children who had come to London with her teenage daughter and a friend to watch a dancing display.

The crash
While the driver was reported to be doing 4 mph, witnesses described her at being hit by a car travelling at "tremendous speed". The crash occurred on a terrace in the grounds of Crystal Palace in London

The vehicle
The car was owned by the Anglo-French Motor Car Company who were offering demonstration rides to the public.


The driver
At the time of the crash, the car was being driven by Arthur Edsell, an employee of the company, He had had been driving for only 3 weeks (no driving tests or licenses existed at that time). He had apparently tampered with the belt, causing the car to go at twice the intended speed. He was also said to have been talking to the young lady passenger beside him.

The inquest
After a six-hour inquest, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death". At the inquest, the Coroner said "This must never happen again". No prosecution was proposed or brought against the driver or the company.