When the first gasoline-powered cars first poured out onto the streets of Detroit, not many people know that it insured a whole generation of dangerous driving. Sure they only went 20 miles an hour, but this was unheard of at the time, built by the engineer Charles Brady King in 1896. They would zip through the streets, swerving around and through the crowds.
In fact, the transition that came next was a very tough and dangerous one, society moving on from the horse age to the motorized age. People did not really know the dangerous of motorized vehicles initially and it caused a serious situation almost immediately.
From 1908, accidents records were being kept in Detroit and showed that it was an increasing problem. In one summer over 30 people were killed by car crashed, not to mention the countless unreported injuries.
And it only became worse, soon hundreds upon hundreds of cars were packing the streets of major cities in America. Driven by experienced drivers and without the needed regulations, you can only imagine the initial turmoil. It led to things like stop signs being creating, lanes being marked and traffic signals. All features that were originally invented in Detroit, even the one-way streets and having a dedicated police team for only traffic incidents.
In 1917, there were over 65,000 cars on the streets and this caused over 7,000 accidents. It is reported that there were 168 fatalities and more than three-fourths of the victims were actually pedestrians. A large problem was that people did not understand the influence drinking had on driving.
This led the infamous Detroit safety parades, thousands would walk the streets blocking the roads and calling for better systems for traffic control. Mangled cars and accident victims would parade among them, they would even dress up children as ghosts to portrait all the lost life.
Ultimately this helped create the laws and systems that needed to keep the streets of Detroit safe, helping the future of traffic safety all over the world.