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The Story of the First Car Accident in Greece

first car accident greece
A car accident from 1922. Credit: Public Domain

The first car accident officially recorded in Greece occurred on a Sunday in March, 1907, at about 11:30 in the morning.

Tragically, the country’s very first car accident was a fatal one, as a pedestrian was struck by the vehicle as she was trying to cross the street.

The accident occurred on the stretch of Syggrou Avenue, which was unpaved, near Hadrian’s Arch and the old Fix brewery in the Greek capital of Athens.

According to police reports of the time, the person at fault for the accident was identified as the then minister and deputy of Phthiotida, Nick Simopoulos, who was driving the car that hit the victim, Euphrosyne Vamvaka.

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) within a distance of approximately 30 meters. Both cars were heading to Paleo Faliro.

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

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

At the time, the accident caused quite a stir among the people of Athens 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 a member of Parliament, he had parliamentary immunity.

On the following day of the accident, the Commander of the Police called all seven drivers and car owners in Athens and implored them to drive with more caution in the future.

The newspapers of the era paid a great deal of attention to the matter, with the tragedy featured on all of the front pages. One wrote: “Seven cars are circulating and we are mourning victims … Imagine what would happen if they became seventy!”

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

Cars were extremely expensive, and completely unaffordable for the vast majority of Greeks. Only those in the highest echelons of Greek society were able to 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 on horse-drawn carriages.

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

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