The story of the first car accident in Greece

A 1922 car accident. Credit: public domain

The first officially recorded car accident in Greece happened on a Sunday in March 1907, around 11:30 a.m.

Tragically, the country’s first-ever car accident was fatal, as a pedestrian was struck by the vehicle as she attempted to cross the street.

The crash happened on the unpaved stretch of Syggrou Avenue near Hadrian’s Arch and the old Fix brewery in the Greek capital of Athens.

According to police reports at the time, the person responsible for the accident was identified as the then Minister and MP for Phthiotis, Nick Simopoulos, who was driving the car that hit the victim, Euphrosyne Vamvaka.

The first car accident in Greece was fatal

At the time of the accident, Simopoulos was following the car of Prince Andrew (the grandfather of Charles, the current Prince of Wales) at a distance of around 30 meters. Both cars were heading towards Paleo Faliro.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

According to the official police announcement, Simopoulos accelerated and overtook the Prince’s car, but rammed into it and dragged down pedestrian Euphrosyne Vamvaka, a 25-year-old woman who was the mother of two young children.

After the unfortunate woman was hit by the first car, the prince’s car rammed her again, although the driver tried to slow down.

At the time, the accident caused a lot of noise among Athenians due to rumors that it was the prince who hit the young woman instead of Simopoulos, who took responsibility for the accident in order to protect the prince.

Simopoulos was never charged because, as an MP, he enjoyed parliamentary immunity.

The day after the accident, the police commander called the seven drivers and car owners in Athens and implored them to drive more carefully in the future.

The newspapers of the time were very interested in it, the tragedy making the front page of all. One wrote: “Seven cars are driving and we mourn the victims… Imagine what would happen if they became seventy!”

According to historical records, the first automobile arrived in Greece around 1899 or 1900, which means that about seven years elapsed between the time when automobiles first circulated in the country and the time of the first accident in car.

Cars were extremely expensive and completely unaffordable for the vast majority of Greeks. Only the highest echelons of Greek society could afford automobiles, so they were a sign of great wealth.

At the time, most people moved around the city on foot and traveled long distances in horse-drawn carriages.

According to data from ELSTAT for the year 2020, there are now more than 4.7 million private automobiles on Greek roads.

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