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On This Day



On This Day… The First Person Charged With Drink Driving

Written by: Peter Fishlock : 03 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 10th Sept, back in 1897 when London cabbie George Smith made history when he became the first person to be arrested and charged for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested after his car swerved across the road and crashed into 165 New Bond Street.

George Smith was honest and admitted that he’d consumed two or three glasses of beer prior to the collision. So how fast was George going? Well the vehicle he was driving was an electric car, which only had a top speed of 12 mph and it’s believed that George was racing down New Bond Street at a blistering 8 mph when the accident happened.

London cabbie George Smith

London cabbie George Smith

Smith was fined 20 shillings for his crime, and the prosecutor, a Mr. De Rutzen, said in setting the stiff fine, “You motor car drivers ought to be very careful.” He pointed out that the coppers knew how to stop a runaway horse, but an out-of-control motor car was quite a different proposition.

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