History of Traffic Laws & William Phelps Eno

When you are stuck in traffic, staring up at that red light that seems like it will never change – don’t blame William Phelps Eno. He was just trying to help.

The history of traffic laws in the U.S. originate primarily with Eno – also called the “Father of Traffic Safety” – and as a New York City native, his drive to create safer travel was inspired by massive traffic jams witnessed in his hometown.  In 1900, he wrote “Reform in Our Street Traffic Urgently Needed” and he became the de facto expert on traffic.

William Phelps Eno...the man with the (traffic) plan, but no car.

William Phelps Eno...the man with the (traffic) plan, but no car.

Three years later, Eno created New York City’s and the nation’s first traffic code. Interestingly enough, all of this progress and leaps in traffic safety came from a man who never even drove a car…true story.

The History Of Traffic Laws Equals Billions In Fines More Than 100 Years Later

NYS traffic laws and traffic laws governing huge metropolitan areas like New York City have certainly changed since William Phelps Eno first penned the original traffic laws. These days, some say that anywhere between 25 and 50 million traffic tickets are issued each year (not including parking tickets). At approximately $150 a pop, that means anywhere from $3.75 to $7.5 billion is collected each year across the nation.

It’s safe to say that traffic laws are significantly more complicated today that during the dawn of the 20th Century. Some vehicle owners in large cities (like NYC) rack up thousands in traffic and parking tickets.  For those of you in New York City, perhaps selling your used car could save you the cash and the hassle of forking over hefty fines.

After all, the “Father of Traffic Safety” never even had a car, much less a traffic ticket.