Ohio may have the dubious distinction of being the place where the world’s first automobile accident occurred. That first wreck? Some historians claim it took place in Ohio City in 1891 when an engineer named James Lambert lost control of one of his inventions – a gasoline-powered automobile – and crashed into a hitching post. He and a passenger sustained minor injuries.
It would be wishful thinking that motor vehicle collisions could have ended there. But as we all know those mishaps continue to occur through today. Along the way, improved engineering and innovation promised safer vehicles, which Americans bought by the millions. However, the odds of getting into a collision are much higher today than they were in 1891. Also, the roads have become more dangerous.
Ohio experiencing more crashes and fatalities
Recent numbers showcase certain increases in dangerous road behavior. According to the Ohio State Patrol statistics through Nov. 7 of this year:
- Traffic fatalities already have reached 1,173 this year, representing a 9% increase from 2020, and eight weeks remain until year’s end.
- Crash investigations for 2021 have reached 48,550, a nearly 8% increase from the previous year,
- Operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) stops have climbed to 16,490, a nearly 17% increase from the previous year.
- Distracted driving numbers have soared nearly 33% to 10,569 compared with 2020.
Such numbers reflect some of the dangers faced by today’s drivers. These not-so-optimistic outcomes may lead to tragedy, heartache, debilitating injury and maybe even a wish for those days of when motor vehicle crashes were rare.
Road dangers remain
More than a century ago, car drivers were focused on knowing how to safely operate these new four-wheeled vehicles. Granted, those actions may have been distractions in their own way. But, compared with today’s drivers, they may have had it easier when it came to safety. A driver like the inventor James Lambert did not fumble with smartphones, know about blind spots or deal with reckless and drunk drivers. That was all to come in the future.