CAR CRASH IS NOT ACCIDENT
Most car “accidents” aren’t really accidental at all. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research this year found 94 percent of all motor vehicle crashes across the country were the result of human behavior and could have been prevented.
In a recent Northland News Center (Duluth MN) article a safety advocate said, “I honestly cringe when I hear someone say ‘accident’. I know it’s just a word, but it’s important in how we view it [vehicle crashes], because how we view it is how people are responsible behind the wheel, how we interact with each other on the roadway.”
According to the article, state and federal agencies have been on board with the language for years. In 1997 NHTSA stopped using the word “accident” to refer to collisions on the road. Traffic safety experts say 28 state departments of transportation have now made the same move.
The article goes on to describe a greater push now being made to educate the public and the media about the impact their words have. “When people think of accidents, they are chance events that are random occurrences that have nothing to do with what our behavior is,” said Massachusetts Director of Highway Safety, Jeff Larason, “But the word crash doesn’t say that same thing. So, a big part of what the focus is trying to get people to think about what they’re doing behind the wheel.”
Before moving into traffic safety, Larason was a traffic reporter. He says he spent years referring to traffic “accidents.” Then he started speaking with crash survivors. “They started to tell me that it was very troublesome to them when they would hear of the person who hurt them, who was drugged or drunk, that that person was saying ‘Well, it was an accident’ almost in a way of deflecting blame,” Larason said.
Larason helped launch the Drop the A Word campaign two years ago in an effort to get the media to stop using “accident” as a blanket term for all crashes. The hope is that the change in wording will drive a bigger shift in public perception. “Is changing from the word accident to crash suddenly going to save thousands of lives? Maybe not,” Larason said, “But will it get into the mindset of people that these are not just chance, inevitable occurrences that can’t be avoided? I think in that case, the answer is yes.”
If you have been injured in a car crash in Minnesota, call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Our lawyers have more than 25 years’ experience representing car crash victims and their families throughout MN. We will explain your rights and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.