Serious debate was held in courtrooms and in editorials over whether the automobile was inherently evil.The state of Georgia's Court of Appeals wrote: "Automobiles are to be classed with ferocious animals and …As Detroit became the hub of automobile production, the number of cars on city streets eclipsed that of other cities, where cars were bought primarily by the wealthy. Above, a Traffic Squad officer mans a crow's nest on Grand Boulevard in 1926.
Pedestrians often could not judge how close a fast-approaching car was to them and scrambled like squirrels to get out of the way.Our current method of making a left turn was not known, and drinking-and-driving was not considered a serious crime. A driver training bulletin called "Sportsmanlike Driving" had to explain velocity and centrifugal force and why when drivers took corners at high speed their cars skidded or sometimes "turned turtle" (flipped over). Ten Are Hurt"An automobile containing a bridal couple, several wedding guests, three children, and many bottles of liquor rounded the corner from Labelle Avenue onto Woodward Sunday evening and turned turtle going at least 40 miles an hour." - Detroit Free Press, June 29, 1914Early vehicles were terrifyingly loud for horses and their owners, compounding the problem as their numbers grew quickly.Statistics kept by the nascent Automobile Club of America recorded that in 1909 there were 200,000 motorized vehicles in the United States.Soon thousands of cars jammed Detroit streets, driven by inexperienced drivers.The city would lead the nation in managing this chaotic, enormous problem: The city drew national attention for using a tennis court line painting device to mark pedestrian crossing areas, safety zones and parking spaces.