First car manufactured
Karl Benz, and Gottlieb Daimler independently produce a self propelled, petrol fuelled, single cylinder four stroke engine vehicle.

First Road Traffic Death
17th August 1896
Crystal Palace, London, UK

Bridget Driscoll was a 44-year old mother with two children who had come to London with her teenage daughter and a friend to watch a dancing display. The crash occurred on a terrace in the grounds of Crystal Palace in London, and while the driver was reported to be doing 4 mph, witnesses described her at being hit by a car travelling at "tremendous speed". She died minutes later of head injuries.


The car was owned by the Anglo-French Motor Car (Roger-Benz) Company who were offering demonstration rides to the public. At the time of the crash, the car was being driven by Arthur Edsell, an employee of the company. He had had been driving for only 3 weeks (no driving tests or licenses existed at that time). He had apparently tampered with the belt, causing the car to go at twice the intended speed and was also said to have been talking to the young lady passenger beside him.

After a six-hour inquest, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death". No prosecution was proposed or brought against the driver or the company. The Coroner at the enquiry is reported to have remarked:

'I trust that this sort of nonsense will never happen again'.

First Fatal Car Crash
12th February 1898
Purley, Surrey, UK
Businessman Henry Lindfield crashed his speeding car into a tree and died a few hours later in Croydon Hospital. Again, a verdict of accidental death was returned.

Accidental Death and Disability. The Neglected Disease of Modern Society.
White paper from the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council.
Accidental Death and Disability. The Neglected Disease of Modern Society. Washingto DC, Division of Medical Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council. September 1966

Major Trauma Outcome Study

American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma
Founded with the aim of improving scoring systems, establishing national outcomes data and to provide objective evaluation of quality assurance and outcome.
By 1989 had recorded over 170,000 seriously injured patients from more than 150 institutions.

Trimodal Distribution of Death

Donald Trunkey publishes key article in Scientific American
Trunkey DD. Trauma. Sci Am 1983;249(2):20-7.

Injury in America - A Continuing Publc Health Problem
National Academy of Sciences.
Washington DC. National Academy of Sciences. 1985

Report on the Management of Patients with Major Injuries (UK)
A joint report from the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the British Orthopaedic Association highlighting the deficiencies of care in the severely injured patient throughout the United Kingdom. The findings were not dissimilar to those found in the BMA's reports of 1935 and 1939. Led to the introduction of ATLS in the UK, and three pilot trauma centres at the Royal London Hospital, the John Radcliffe Hospital in London and North-Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke. Otherwise Largely ignored.

Commission on the Provision of Surgical Services. 'Report on the Management of Patients with Major INjuries.' London, 1988. Royal College of Surgeons

Better Care of the Severely Injured (UK)

Report from the Royal College of Surgeons Severe Injuries working group.
Almost entirely ignored.

Available: www.rcseng.ac.uk/services/publications/publications/index_html?pub_id=2