Lucy bids farewell to Sydney Carton in the frontispiece by Max Cowper to Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities. The book tells of a fatality caused by the ‘hard driving’ of a horse-drawn coach. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
Monday 12 December 2016 19.37 GMT
Susanna Rustin (Killer Drivers are the biggest stranger danger of all, 7 December) tells us that in 1925 F Scott Fitzgerald “perceived the sociopathic potential of driving”. But careless driving was not born with the motor car. In A Tale of Two Cities in 1859 Charles Dickens had written of the dangers of “hard driving” and describes an aristocrat in his horse-drawn coach being driven at a reckless speed, “with an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to understand in these days”. So when his coach kills a child, he obviously feels no remorse or fear of the law, telling the distraught father: “It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children.” He then speeds carelessly away, presumably to endanger and ruin more lives. So what’s new?