Did You Know Facts
In 1652, the first traffic law was enacted by a colony was passed by New
Amsterdam (future New York City). In order to prevent accidents, it stated
that "no Wagons, Carts or Sleighs shall be run, rode or driven at a gallop
within this city of New Amsterdam..."
In 1877, the first interstate telephone call was placed with a call from New
Brunswick, New Jersey to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in New York City.
In 1878, the first telephone directory was issued by the New Haven District
Telephone Company in Connecticut.
In 1883, the first yellow pages was published in Cheyenne, Wyoming
containing business listings and bound into the residential phone directory.
In 1898-99, the first truck was designed and built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
by a team that later incorporated as the Autocar Company.
In their 1899 catalog, it was described as "a delivery wagon which can be
made of any size or design, that will be fitted with five to eight horsepower
motors. Complete with motors it will weigh from 900 to 1400 pounds."
In 1901, Connecticut became the first state to enact uniform, motor vehicle
In 1901, New York was the first state requiring automobile registration.
The 1901 Oldsmobile was the first model equipped with a speedometer.
In 1901, the first speeding driver law enacted by a state was passed by the
General Assembly of Connecticut in which the speed of motor vehicles
should not exceed 12 mph on country highways and 8 mph on highways
within city limits.
In 1903, the first commercial vehicle race was held in New York City and
sponsored by the Automobile Club of America. It included 7 heavy trucks
and 6 delivery wagons. The American trucking industry grew as sales
increased with the benefits of bringing goods to market quickly and less
In 1904, the first intercity trucking service began with a six-cylinder motor
truck running between Colorado City, Colorado and Snyder, Texas.
In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T. This low-priced, mass-
produced car made automobile ownership possible in the general public.
In 1910, the first drinking and driving laws were passed in New York State.
In 1911, traffic lanes designated by white lines were painted on River Road,
near Trenton, Michigan. They were the invention of the road commissioner
for Wayne County, Michigan who called his idea a "center line safety
In 1911, the greatest depth of snow was recorded on the ground at Tamarac,
California at 37'7" (11.46 meters) deep.
In 1913, the first drive-in gas station was opened by Gulf in Pittsburgh.
In 1913, the Lincoln Highway opened and was the first transcontinental road
paved coast-to-coast stretching from New York City to San Francisco.
In 1914, Detroit, Michigan had the first stop sign.
In 1914, the first cars were produced with key starters. They were produced
In 1914, the first electric traffic signal lights were installed in Cleveland,
Ohio by the American Traffic Signal Company.
In 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act providing the
first federal money for building roads.
In 1920, the first commercial radio station licensed was 8MK in Detroit,
Michigan which instituted daily service with program "Tonight's Dinner"
and was owned by Detroit News (first newspaper to operate a radio station).
In 1921, the first drive-in restaurant opened in Dallas, Texas called the J. G.
Kirby's Pig Stand.
In 1921, Hudson introduced the first adjustable seat. It was introduced on
the Hudson and Essex models.
In 1922, the first car designed for police work was delivered to the Denver,
Colorado police department.
In 1923, the first automatic traffic light was developed by an inventor in
Cleveland, Ohio. The patent rights were later sold to General Electric
In 1924, the first motel was opened on north side of San Luis Obispo,
In 1925, the first nationwide highway numbering system (shield-shaped
numbered marker) was adopted by the Joint Board of State and Federal
In 1926, the first safety glass was introduced by Stutz. It had wire embedded
in the glass to prevent windows from shattering.
In 1929, Motorola sold the first car radios for aftermarket installation. The
car radio was invented by an engineer in a garage in Chicago, Illinois. About
the size of a large toolbox, it had a speaker that was installed under the car's
floorboards. It's inventor was the founder of Motorola.
In 1932, the U.S. government levied the first national gasoline tax.
In 1933, price and gallon displays on gasoline pumps were introduced by the
Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In 1935, the first truck completely streamlined from the ground up was
introduced by the White Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1935, the United Automobile workers union was formed. The UAW
received bargaining rights with Chrysler and General Motors in 1937. Ford
Motor Company officially recognized the union in 1941.
In 1939, the first flashing turn signals were introduced by Buick. They were
installed on the rear as part of the trunk emblem.
In 1942, the first national speed limit was set at 35 miles per hour.
In 1949, the first refrigeration system for trucks was patented. The roof-
mounted cooling system allowed trucks to carry perishables over long
In 1954, the first truck driving school was opened by Bedford Motor-
Transport Drivers Training Program in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
In 1954, the first toll collection machine was in service at the Union Toll
Plaza on the Garden State Parkway of New Jersey.
In 1955, bucket seats were first offered on Corvettes and Thunderbirds.
In 1955, McDonald's restaurant was opened in Des Plaines, Illinois.
In 1956, the first in-dash record player was offered as an option by Chrysler.
In 1960, California was the first state to pass legislation requiring all cars to
install equipment to limit exhaust pollution.
In 1962, the first law requiring all cars sold to have installed seat belts was
passed in Wisconsin. Prior, seat belts were available as an option.
In 1964, the first freeze-dried coffee was marketed and made available
nationally 4 years later by General Foods of White Plains, New York.
In 1966, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act became law
mandating equipment such as better door locks, side-impact beams, safety
belts, head restraints, penetration resistant windshields, and energy absorbing
In 1971, the first in-dash stereo cassette tape player was offered by Chrysler.
In 1971, the battery-operated electronic pocket calculator was introduced by
Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas that could add, subtract, multiply, and
In 1971, the first litter law was enacted by a state (Oregon) which outlawed
pull-tab cans and non-returnable bottles.
In 1973, the first metric distance markers on a state highway were put up on
Interstate 71 by the Ohio Transportation Department showing distance in
miles and kilometers.
In 1974, the speed limit for highway traffic was established by Congress and
enacted in an effort to conserve fuel during the 1970's energy crisis. Set at
55 mph, the law was repealed in 1995 after which most states proceeded to
raise their speed limits.
In 1974, the record for the most tornadoes in 24 hours was set at 148 in the
southern and Midwestern states in a region referred to as "Tornado Alley."
In 1977, the final section of Interstate 75 (stretching from Canada to Gulf of
Mexico) was dedicated making it the first border-to-border national highway.
In 1984, New York became the first state to require drivers, front-seat
passengers, and children under 10 years to wear seat belts.
In 1987, the first American car to offer a factory installed CD player as an
option was the Lincoln Town Car.
In 1988, the first cyber cafe opened in Santa Monica, California called the
Electronic Cafe International.
In 1989, the first federal air bag requirement took effect when all new cars
were required to have driver-side air bags installed.
In 2001, the record was set in Spain for the heaviest truck pulled with an
arm-wrestling move weighing 7,185 pounds and 7 ounces (3,259.3 kg).
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