Automobile A New Paradigm In Transportation Essay
The automobile represented a new paradigm in transportation. Moving from horses to high-speed gas powered vehicles was a big change for society. There was no precedent and little to limit what could be done with the automobile. Driving regulations for automobiles have altered over time and in the beginning of the 20th century there were few regulations because there was no precedent for motor vehicles. Drivers, excited by their shiny new thousand pound speeding block of metal, would take to the road without any thought for the damage cars could CAUSE.
ALTHOUGH AUTOMOBILES WERE A LUXURY “TOY” IN THE EARLY 1900S, PLAYING AROUND WITHOUT AN understanding of the power behind the wheel was the cause of numerous accidents and fatalities as automobile popularity increased. In the 21st century today we know how dangerous cars can be. However, at the turn of the 20th century the citizens were not aware.
According to the accounts of several journalists during this time the number of laws regulating the automobiles was limited, however, as the years progressed beyond 1900, automobiles were given limits and penalties for pushing those limits. Automobile accidents rose in conjunction with the expansion of new automobile recreation activities.
Racing became a popular event at the turn of the 20th century however, that period of racing is not like modern times with special tracks and guardrails. 20th century racing was performed in the streets of towns and cities. Racing was unregulated and drew in as many SPECTATORS AS IT DID SPEED DEMONS BEHIND THE WHEEL. THESE RACES WERE KNOWN AS “AUTOMOBILE Scorching” and were an obvious danger to the public, leading to heavy protesting. 1 In 1900 France, many citizens pushed for regulations when civilians were being injured. In Paris, horrible THINGS LIKE “AN AUTOMOBILE DASH[ING] AT FULL SPEED INTO A WEDDING PRECESSION” WERE MAJOR.
headlines. 1 Drivers were uninhibited to race through the streets, causing havoc wherever they 1 “Automobile Scorching” New York Times (1857-1922), Apr 22, 1900,http://search. proquest. com/docview/95980973? accountid=12725. ”MOTOR. 1 TRAVELED. NO LAWS WERE IN PLACE TO CURB THIS BEHAVIOR. THE WRITER OF “AUTOMOBILE SCORCHING” wrote from the perspective of someone in the beginning of the automobile age and he claims to have witnessed auto scorching first hand. He mentions that the French government was beginning to regulate the auto racing and speed limits to decrease the number of street races and injuries due to them. He wrote this article to shed light on how dangerous street racing was.
USING THE WORD “SCORCHING” BRINGS A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION. BY GIVING A NEGATIVE VIEW ON automobile racing, he is sending a message that actions need to be taken to limit the drivers of automobiles. Civilians in 1900 had never had access to a high-speed transportation unit that was owned and operated by the everyday person. Richard W. Kinney witnessed firsthand how dangerous the streets became following the widespread introduction of vehicles. Kinney was killed after dodging one careening car only to be hit by another.
2 There was no notion of a speed limit in America and meanwhile, the French government had taken control of the street racing in France with the output of speeding regulations. Road racers were a danger, but even the typical driver could be a hazard to the public. Think of it as learning to ride a bike: the world had just removed the training wheels and drivers were still wobbling on their wheels. Fatalities due to automobiles were climbing and the public pushed the government to respond. Not only were the pedestrians within cities affected, but the farmers in rural areas were as well.
The lack of regulation outside the cities allowed motorists to the put the pedal to the metal at will. The sounds and movements of the cars frightened the horses on farms. Automobiles in 1900 GOT EXPONENTIALLY LOUDER AS THEY WENT FASTER. THE FARMERS COMPLAINED, “THE TROUBLE WAS 2 “Automobile Kills Man. ” New York Times (1857-1922), April 12, 1900, http://search. proquest. com/docview/96041762? accountid=12725. 2 occasioned by men who were on the roads testing machines for speed rather than pleasure. ”3 The French were ahead of the United States in regulating automobiles; they began a new paradigm. 4.
The Americans however, were stuck in no paradigm of new technology beyond the car and the writers of articles in local papers noticed this all to well. Information spread quickly once people discovered the danger of automobiles. Newspapers regularly posted articles to inform society about not only the dangers of the automobiles on the streets, but also how the government was responding to the accidents. The writers all presented DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEWS, AS IS EVIDENT IN THE TWO ARTICLES “AUTOMOBILE KILLS A MAN” AND “TO REGULATE AUTOMOBILE DRIVING” BOTH WRITTEN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES WITHIN A MONTH OF EACH OTHER.
The first article gives an account of a man killed after a car hit him. The writer of this article is writing from the perspective of how the public had to adapt. The days of crossing the street at will were gone. The second article gave an account of the concerns of farmers and their horses. The writer of that article wrote from the perspective of how the noise changed with the introduction of the automobile. The writer was trying to let the public know how the cars were affecting the countryside in hopes of possibly reaching out to change behavior. Both writers were pushing for the automobiles to be given restrictions.
The automobile was a new technology, and the public needed help in learning how to safely use it. The car was a vehicle that involved minimal physical effort, unlike the bicycle. The car did not have to be domesticated, nor prepared like a horse with a saddle. The problem with the new technology was what Dr. Forbes Winslow keyed as “Motor Intoxication,” 5 Dr. Winslow 3 “To Regulate Automobile Driving. ” New York Times (1857-1922), May 11, 1900, http://search. proquest. com/docview/96298677? accountid=12725. 4 “Automobile Scorching” New York Times (1857-1922), Apr 22, 1900,http://search.proquest. com/docview/95980973? accountid=12725.
”MOTOR. 5 “Motor Intoxication and Speed Madness. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jun 21,1903, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/motorintoxication1903. pdf. 3 STATES, “THE RACING MOTOR HAS GIVEN US A NEW DISEASE. ” THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NEW AND EVERYONE wanted to feel what it was like to have a way to go faster than others do; these early automobilists craved speed. However, this euphoric feeling was also very dangerous for those AROUND THEM. DR. FORBES DID NOT WRITE THE ARTICLE “MOTOR INTOXICATION AND SPEED MADNESS” IN which the interview and views of the writer are published, however, by choosing to interview Dr.
Forbes, the writer is admitting his view on the automobile. In choosing a doctor who is clearly against the effect the automobile has on society the writer must have felt similar feeling. Writing IN JUNE 1903, WHICH IS AFTER THE BILL IN “REGULATING AUTOMOBILES” IS PROPOSED, PROVES TO THE public that one regulation will not solve all the issues. He wanted the public to take responsibility instead of relying on the government to fix everything. He states that if treated life a disease then there is no cure.
However, treating motor intoxication as a wive puts responsibility on the driver and presents a cure and treatment. 6 He was allowing society to look into the mirror and change their ways. As euphoric driving rose, auto accidents climbed as well. This was a short-lived phenomenon and regulation was coming. Automobilists were victims of much hostility from those who were dependent on horses. In 1902, A DRIVER WAS SHOT AT BY A FARMER BECAUSE THE AUTOMOBILIST HAD BEEN DRIVING AT “A HIGH RATE of speed” and frightened the farmers horses. 7 Such hostility was also expressed in efforts to RESTRICT AUTOMOBILE SPEED. THE INCIDENT WITH THE FARMER LED TO “MANY EFFORTS TO RESTRICT SPEED OF vehicles along city streets and suburban and country roads.
8 The speed restriction limited motorists to 8 miles per hour. Automobilists were resistant to the new laws and regulations. 6 “Motor Intoxication and Speed Madness. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jun 21,1903, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/motorintoxication1903. pdf. 7 “Automobile Topics of Interest. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jul 6, 1902, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/auto%20topics%20of%20interest%201902.
pdf 8 “Automobile Topics of Interest. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jul 6, 1902, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/auto%20topics%20of%20interest%201902. pdf 4 Within the article, the writers mentions an important note. He brings up the notion that restricting cars to 8 miles per hour is restricting them to the walking speed of humans. He goes on to say that cyclists went, on average, 15 miles per hour. He brought up the point that the hostility is not towards drivers who are within 20 miles per hour, but those who exceeded the racing speed of 50 miles per hour.
The writer of this article is an advocate for the common automobilist. He wants regulations in place, but he also wants the makers of those laws to be fair, for them to consider the speeds of all vehicles on the road and the speeds of all automobilists. In 1902, there were few laws that limited the speed of automobiles. This was especially true along the country roads. The driving habits of so automobile racers to drive at 50 miles per hour or MORE DREW THE LAWMAKER’S ATTENTION TO THE NEED FOR REGULATION AND CONSEQUENCES. In 1903, the legislature of New York passed a bill that finally regulated speed limits and road conditions regarding pedestrians and horse drawn vehicles.
One cause of the continuous accidents was the speed and unsafe driving habits with no consequences in the case of accidents OR DAMAGES. IN APRIL OF 1903, LAWS PASSED STATING THAT “NO MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VEHICLE SHALL PASS A PERSON DRIVING A HORSE…OR PASSENGERS WALKING IN A ROADWAY AT A GREATER SPEED THAN 8 miles per hour. ”9 The bill passed that day by New York and many others alike started a new paradigm of control and punishment. Not only were there laws in places, but also consequences such as fines and imprisonment for breaking the laws.
This bill was a direct result of the hostility towards drivers who raced through the countryside. Along with restricting the speed, the bill also stated that an automobilist was required by law to stop if a horse driver made the request. The writer of this article calls automobile drivers a class within themselves. He furthers states that 9 “Regulating Automobiles. ” New York Times (1857-1922), April 25, 1903, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/regulating%201903. pdf 5 “if users of automobiles had, as a class, been reasonable, the law would be unreasonable. ”10 The
WRITER OF “AUTOMOBILE TOPICS OF INTEREST” HAD WANTED THE LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER THE ACTS OF DRIVERS WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE. THE WRITER OF “REGULATING AUTOMOBILES” RESPONDS TO THAT. HE elaborates on the previous statements on the motorist class by stating that the law is designed based on the class that showed a lack of decency and respect for the lives of others. Law makers made this law in response to racing motorists. Due to much opposition to the eight mile per hour speed law, Senator Hill of Albany, New York, supported auto clubs such as the American Automobile Association in the introduction of his bill THAT REVISED THE PREVIOUS SPEED LAWS.
HIS BILL PROMOTES A SPEED THAT HE SAYS “SHALL BE REASONABLE and proper. ”11 This speed is defined as being roughly between eight and twenty miles per hour. The bill not only revised speed laws, but also regulates the speed based on location and proximity to persons or horses. The bill stated that speed must be reduced when approaching the horses, crossings and bridges, curves, and when passing animals or pedestrians. A driver was now also responsible for recognizing the signals when a horse was becoming frightened and in coming to a stop in response.
Failure to respond resulted in no clearly defined penalties such as fines and minor imprisonment. 12 Senator Hill’s new bill was in response to the previous bill passed by New York in 1903. That bill received some opposition so the Senator proposed a bill that would not punish the entire class of drivers. New laws were being passed thanks to the efforts of many auto clubs like the AAA. Their support and persistence made a huge difference in the automobile industry. 10 “Regulating Automobiles. ” New York Times (1857-1922), April 25, 1903, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/regulating%201903.pdf 11 “New Automobile Bill. ”
New York Times (1857-1922), Jan 19, 1904, http://search. proquest. com. prox. lib. ncsu. edu/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/96419946/35BD2AA8E1C4B5BPQ/3? accountid=12725 12 “New Automobile Bill. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jan 19, 1904, http://search. proquest. com. prox. lib. ncsu. edu/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/96419946/35BD2AA8E1C4B5BPQ/3? accountid=12725 6 In 1907, the American Automobile Association began meetings on passing a new bill in order to ban street racing. The reason for their consideration had been a recent accident involving a man named L. W. Smelzer.
Smelzer died in a racing crash and the AAA decided that racing needed REGULATION AS MUCH AS CIVILIAN DRIVING. THE PRESIDENT OF THE AAA, MR. HOTCHKISS, STATED “THE fatality of last Saturday simply emphasizes the demand prevalent throughout the country for abolition of races other than on tracks especially built. ”13 Automobile scorching, as street racing was called, caused numerous accidents. The accident involving Smelzer and the incidence in which an auto drove through a wedding reception and injured many people are just a few. 14 By 1907, the automobile industry had expanded and the streets were becoming busier.
With all the speed regulations in tact, there was no room for racing on the public roads. The AAA, who supported the bill by Senator Hill, recognized the dangers and proposed a way to regulate racing. THE WRITER OF “MAY PREVENT ACCIDENTS” ACTED AS A SUPPORTING INFORMANT. HE KNEW THAT RACERS would resist the regulations put in place for them, but the writer also shed some light on the situation. He mentions the new speedways to be built in order to keep the public and racing community calm as they look forward to future of racing. The automobile began as a luxurious toy and grew to be a necessary means of transportation and labor.
In 1900, the automobile industry had many kinks to work out. The main danger the car presented was not the infrastructure, but the lack of regulation, limits, and consequences. The automobile, like any new object that hit the markets was merely a prototype with unpredictable outcomes. From speeding to public street racing, the pedestrians of society faced numerous perils simply walking around downtown. In 1903, a bill was passed that punished the motorists by 13 “May Prevent Accidents. ” Los Angeles Times (1886-1922), Oct 2, 1907, http://search. proquest. com/docview/159194894/BC8543109BBF4EB1PQ/2?accountid=12725.
14 “Automobile Scorching” New York Times (1857-1922), Apr 22, 1900,http://search. proquest. com/docview/95980973? accountid=12725. ”MOTOR. 7 limiting their speed to the walking speed of a person. 15 The 1904 law, supported by auto clubs, recognized the automobile as a new paradigm and gave drivers more discretion16 The jumpstart to these bills was the continuous new articles of accidents and hostility towards the automobile. The automobile was an asset to the economy so banishing them was out of the question. 17 Instead, laws and consequences for breaking those laws were put in place.
Laws for the automobile were constantly changing and improving. Automobile clubs such as the AAA, pushed for regulations to be put in place in order for driving to become safer. 18 Without the support of these auto clubs, many laws would have been undermined and tossed aside. The clubs showed the lawmakers that automobiles can be safe along side horses and pedestrians with limits and consequences for exceeded limits in place. 15 “Regulating Automobiles. ” New York Times (1857-1922), April 25, 1903, http://courses. ncsu. edu/hi341/lec/001/Auto/regulating%201903. pdf.
16 “New Automobile Bill. ” New York Times (1857-1922), Jan 19, 1904, http://search. proquest. com. prox. lib. ncsu. edu/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/96419946/35BD2AA8E1C4B5BPQ/3? accountid=12725 17 “May Exports and Imports,” Horseless Age, July 4, 1906, 6, http://books. google. com/books? id=0yofAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=horseless+age&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6tBdT4axI47rtgea9pCIDA&ved =0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=imports&f=false 18 “May Prevent Accidents. ” Los Angeles Times (1886-1922), Oct 2, 1907, http://search. proquest. com/docview/159194894/BC8543109BBF4EB1PQ/2? accountid=12725.
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