UK’s first fatal car accident

UK first fatal car accident Bridget Driscoll stepped into the history books on August 17th 1896. Mrs Driscoll, a 44 year old housewife, while travelling from Old Town, became the first pedestrian in the UK to be killed by a car.

Mrs Driscoll, was hit by an automobile belonging to the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Company that was being used to give demonstration rides, travelling at 4mph. She died within minutes of receiving a head injury. One witness described the car as travelling at “a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine”.

The driver, working for the Anglo-French Motor Co, said that he was doing 4mph when he killed Mrs Driscoll and that he had rung his bell and shouted. The jury took six hours to reach a verdict that Mrs. Driscoll had died of accidental death.

Coroner William Percy Morrison said he hoped that ‘such a thing would never happen again’ and was the first to use the term ‘accident’ to violence caused by speed. Coroners across the country have followed his example ever since.


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