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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 22, 1900

French Police Decide Dangerous Practice Must Be Stopped.

Copyright, 1900, The Associated Press.

PARIS, April 21—The wrath of pedestrians in Paris and the suburbs, backed by indignant protests from various points in the country, against the furious and reckless driving of automobile "scorchers" has finally resulted in police action.  The Prefect of the department in which Paris is situated has decided to tolerate no further automobile racing over the roads in his territory.  The Minister of the Interior M. Waldeck-Rousseau, acquiesced in this action, and has sent a request to Prefects throughout France to prohibit all such racing.  This will put a stop to many newly created, long-distance contests, which have recently become the craze, including international runs.

The measure is generally approved by the press, in view of the alarming frequency of avoidable accidents due to the illegal rate of speed of the automobilists, who dash through country villages at the rate of forty miles an hour without a thought of slackening their speed.  Paris streets have become positively dangerous because of inexperienced or heedless drivers, who whirl along the Champs Elysées and the Bois de Boulogne, and even through the crowded central thoroughfares at a breakneck rate.

Only yesterday an automobile dashed at full speed into a wedding procession, seriously injuring two children.  Many instances are reported of automobilists pursuing their journeys after similar accidents without even stopping.  Within Paris Prefect Lepine has formed a special police corps on bicycles to chase and arrest all persons exceeding the legal speed limit.

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