Road crashes, causing death, injury, and damage have always happened. History tells of many notable historic personalities who were the victim of such incidents. Louis IV of France died in 954 after falling from his horse, as did at least two kings of England: William I (William the Conqueror) in 1087 and William III in 1702. Handel was seriously injured in a carriage crash in 1752.
The British road engineer J. J. Leeming, compared the statistics for fatality rates in Great Britain, for transport incidents both before and after the introduction of the motor vehicle, for journeys, including those by water, which would now be undertaken by motor vehicle: For the period 1863–1870 there were: 470
fatalities per million of population (76 on railways, 143 on roads, 251 on water); for the period 1891–1900 the corresponding figures were: 348
(63, 107, 178); for the period 1931–1938: 403 (22, 311, 70) and for the year 1963: 325 (10, 278, 37). Leeming concluded that the data showed that “travel accidents may even have been more frequent a century ago than they are now, at least for men
Irish scientist Mary Ward died on 31st August 1869 when she fell out of her cousins’ steam car and was run over. She is believed to have been the world’s first motor vehicle accident victim.
In the United States the calculable costs of motor-vehicle crashes are wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, motor vehicle damage, and employers’, uninsured costs administrative expenses. (See the definitions for a description of what is included in each component.) The costs of all these items for each death (not each fatal crash), injury (not each injury crash), and property damage crash was: Average Economic Cost per Death, Injury, or Crash, 2006: Nonfatal; Disabling Injury; $55,000; Property Damage Crash (including nondisabling injuries) $8,200; Death; $1,210,000; Expressed on a per death basis, the cost of all motor vehicle crashes—i.e. fatal, nonfatal injury, and property damage—was $5,800,000. This includes the cost of one death, 197 property damage crashes (including minor injuries, 54 nonfatal disabling injuries). This average may be used to estimate the motor vehicle crash costs for a state provided that there are at least 10 deaths and only one or two occurred in each fatal crash. If fewer than 10 deaths, estimate the costs of deaths, nonfatal disabling injuries, and property damage crashes separately.