Greeks are generally quite a passionate bunch when it comes to motorsports. But their overly zealous approach to ‘all things’ moto more often than not fails to correspond to driving responsibly on the road.
According to Eurostat data, the country ranked 6th among the EU’s 32 member states with 58 victims per 1 million inhabitants, Romania holding the top stop with over 90 fatalities per 1 million.
But did you know when the first car accident, fatal at that, was officially recorded in Greece? It happened on Sunday, March 4, 1907, at approximately 11:30 in the morning, on Syngrou Avenue after Hadrian’s Gate at the height of the FIX factory in Athens.
The perpetrator, according to the Police report of the day, was the then minister and MP, Nikolaos Simopoulos. The Minister’s vehicle, the Police statement read, was tailing Prince Andreas’s (grandfather of the King of the UK Charles) car at a distance of about 30 meters moving towards Palaio Faliro in the port of Piraeus.
At the height of the FIX factory, as the official announcement of the Police continued, the Minister while trying to overtake the car of the prince, hit a 25-year-old woman named Efrosini Vamvaka running over her in the process. The unfortunate woman was also run over by the prince’s car, although, as the statement read, the Royal tried to slow down.
The accident caused quite a stir in the press of the day, as it was reported that the victim was probably killed by the prince and that Simopoulos simply took responsibility for the accident, to “cover” for Prince Andreas.
The fatal accident was all over the frontlines of the newspapers, with titles reading: “Seven cars are circulating and we are mourning victims … Imagine what will happen if they become seventy! ….”
The next day, the Commander of the Athens Police Department summoned all seven (!) car owners in Athens at that time issuing them very strict recommendations to drive carefully.