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World's First Car Death
The location of the World's first ever death by car.
Bridget Driscoll received instant notoriety when she stepped off the kerb and into the history books on August 17th 1896. Mrs Driscoll, a 44 year old housewife, who was travelling from Old Town, Croydon to a folk-dancing display in Crystal Palace, became the first pedestrian in the UK to be killed by a car.
Mrs Driscoll, a resident of Croydon, was hit by a demonstration car travelling at 4mph. She died within minutes of receiving a head injury.
At Mrs Driscoll’s inquest, Coroner William Percy Morrison said he hoped that “such a thing would never happen again” and was the first to apply the term “accident” to violence caused by speed. Coroners across the country have followed his example ever since.
Witnesses said that the car, driven by Arthur Edsel, was travelling at a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine. Mr Edsel claimed that he had only been doing 4 mph and that he had rung his bell as a warning. The jury took six hours to reach a verdict that Mrs. Driscoll had died of accidental death.