Only yesterday TNW wrote about the Bloodhound land speed record vehicle, which tries to cross the 1000 mile mark (approx. 1,609 km / h). But have you ever thought about people crossing speed limits over a hundred years ago?
Today marks the 124th anniversary of what is generally considered to be the first parking ticket issued in Great Britain, and the driver was at a speed of just under 13 km / h. Yes, about as fast as a good run.
[Read: Engineers bet on hydrogen-fueled zero emission rocket to break land speed record]
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The speed limit was only 3.22 km / h, which meant that he drove four times faster!" It would be like driving through a zone at highway speeds of 32 km / h.
A "horse-less carriage"
It may not sound like breakneck speed, but take a look at the "horse-less carriage" he was in at the time. No airbags, no seat belts, no crumple zones, no collision warning systems. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be thrown out of this device at 13 km / h.
It should also be borne in mind that villages and towns in the late 19th century had a number of other mandatory laws for motorists.
In addition to exceeding the speed limit, Arnold also had no "man with a red flag" in front of him when he drove. Surely he could have hired a man on a bicycle to carry the flag in front of him?
Speaking of bicycles, that was actually the means of transportation used by the policeman who finally arrested Arnold.
You'd think catching a 8mph car on a push bike wouldn't be too difficult, but according to Historic UK, the chase was about 5 miles. Afterwards, police officer Arnold gave a quote and the first ticket for a crime related to exceeding a speed limit.
According to Guinness World Records, Arnold was indeed charged with violating four laws: with a locomotive without a horse on a public road, the locomotive could be operated by less than three people. Arnold traveled faster than two miles an hour and showed his name and address not on his vehicle.
Arnold was fined 5 shillings for driving on a public road and had to pay £ 2.0s 11d in costs. For all other fees, he paid a shilling penalty and 9 shillings to cover the costs. All in, that's about £ 300 for today's money.
But that's not the end of the story. Walter Arnold was an important name of the day in British driving, and his ticket marks a turning point in history.
Changing the future of driving
He owned one of the country's first car dealerships and sold German Benz vehicles. His company also made its own cars under the name "Arnold", writes Historic UK.
The press and excitement surrounding his ruthless pace were likely to work in his favor and show how far his machines were able to spread this new form of transportation.
In the months after Arnold's parking ticket, the law on locomotives was revised in order to increase the prescribed speed limit to approx. 23 km / h and to eliminate the need for the "man with a flag". ”
This effectively paved the way for modern driving. Speed limits have been increased to match the ability of new machines and the annoyance of having a warning flag in front of a vehicle has been removed.
To celebrate, drivers of the day are said to have gathered to drive from London to Brighton and back to an event called the "Emancipation Run". The route from London to Brighton is still a popular and historic route for classic car enthusiasts.
Indeed, we might consider the legal challenges that arise from new technologies to be a relatively new phenomenon, but Arnold's case shows that this is not the case.
With self-driving, autonomous vehicles, we are facing a similar challenge today. Legislators have long struggled with the ethical dilemma of who or what should be held responsible if autonomous cars crash and cause injuries. If 94 percent of accidents are due to a driver error, what happens if no driver is involved?
Advances in technology again point to obvious gaps in the regulations that govern our roads. Hopefully these gaps will be closed before it's too late.