Today’s cars can go zero to sixty in the time it takes you to read this sentence. But that wasn’t always the case. Back when the first cars were manufactured, the top speeds were, by today’s standards, comically slow. One has to wonder when the first speeding ticket was issued. And just how fast was this bandit of the blacktop going?
I thought there might be some difficulty in tracking the answer down, but the pursuit was a lot like beating a Yugo in a drag race. According to Ohio History Central, the dubious distinction belongs to one Harry Myers. In 1904, Mr. Myers was given the very first speeding ticket for going a whopping 12 miles per hour on West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio.
But hold the phone. That might not be totally accurate. A blog from Open Salon explains that the first speeding violation may have actually occurred five years earlier. According to the blog, New York City cab driver Jacob German was arrested in Manhattan for going 12 miles per hour in May, 1899.
The blog goes on to note that back in 1899, the police didn’t actually give out paper tickets. So, in a way, Mr. Myers may have still earned the first actual ticket. However Mr. German, who drove for the Electric Vehicle Company, scored the first violation. As Planet Buzo points out, it seems appropriate that “our country’s first arrest for reckless driving should be leveled at a New York cabbie.”
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