On August 31, 1869, Mary Ward became the first recorded victim of a steam-powered automobile accident; Karl Benz had not yet invented the gasoline-powered automobile (1886). Ward, of Parsonstown, Ireland, was thrown out of a motor vehicle and killed. Thirty years later, on September 13, 1899, Henry Bliss became North America's first motor vehicle fatality when hit while stepping off a New York City trolley. Since then, over 20 million people worldwide have died due to motor vehicle accidents.
The need for a means of analyzing and mitigating the effects of motor vehicle accidents on humans was felt soon after commercial production of automobiles began in the late 1890s, and by the 1930s, when the automobile became a common part of daily life and the number of motor vehicle deaths was rising. Death rates had surpassed 15.6 fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles and were continuing to climb.
In 1930, the interior of a car featured Dashboards of rigid metal, non-collapsible steering columns — and protruding knobs, buttons, and levers. Without seat belts, passengers in a frontal collision could be hurled against the interior of the automobile or through the windshield. The vehicle body itself was rigid, and impact forces were transmitted directly to the vehicle occupants. As late as the 1950s, car manufacturers were on public record as saying that vehicle accidents simply could not be made survivable because the forces in a crash were too great.
Read more about this topic: Crash Test Dummy
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Famous quotes containing the word history:
“I cannot be much pleased without an appearance of truth; at least of possibilityI wish the history to be natural though the sentiments are refined; and the characters to be probable, though their behaviour is excelling.”
—Frances Burney (17521840)
“[Men say:] Dont you know that we are your natural protectors? But what is a woman afraid of on a lonely road after dark? The bears and wolves are all gone; there is nothing to be afraid of now but our natural protectors.”
—Frances A. Griffin, U.S. suffragist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, ch. 19, by Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (1902)
“The greatest horrors in the history of mankind are not due to the ambition of the Napoleons or the vengeance of the Agamemnons, but to the doctrinaire philosophers. The theories of the sentimentalist Rousseau inspired the integrity of the passionless Robespierre. The cold-blooded calculations of Karl Marx led to the judicial and business-like operations of the Cheka.”
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