Speed Kills


Walter Arnold vs the TVB


Walter Arnold was always a bit reckless.  A bit of a madman you might say.  No one was surprised by his run in with the law on January 28, 1896. 

The enterprising Mr. Arnold was one of England’s first car dealers.  He sold Mercedes-Benz out of his shop in Kent.  He also made personal modifications to the Benz design and sold them as Arnold Motor Carriages to the people of the UK.

In what may have been a publicity stunt, Arnold drove one of his vehicles down the main road of Paddock Wood, Kent on that fateful day in 1896.  The local constable did not take kindly to this outrageous act.  He jumped on his bicycle and pursued the rash motorman.  After a miles long chase, the Constable caught Arnold and lit him up.  Four tickets. Four!! This constable must have been trying to get into Highway Patrol!

Mr. Arnold was ticketed for: using a locomotive without a horse on a public road, allowing said locomotive to be operated by less than three people, failing to clearly display his name and address on the vehicle, and travelling at a rate of speed four times the legal limit.  The assiduous Constable clocked him traveling at a blistering eight miles per hour.  The speed limit at the time was two miles per hour. 

Arnold was brought before a judge to answer for his crimes.  He argued that the laws were not keeping up with the pace of technology.  No Dice.  Guilty on all four counts and fined four Pounds twenty.  Not much has changed in the courtroom of the Traffic Violations Bureau in the past hundred and twenty years.  You are still always guilty.  

Mr. Arnold was the first person in history to get a speeding ticket, assuring a place in useless trivia history and a short blurb on the Today in History Opsdesk.org page.  A great honor for a great man. 

Christopher Flanagan
photo CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=141423


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