It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead

Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from crashes, collisions and other incidents caused by drivers. Just don’t call them accidents anymore.

That is the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country. They are campaigning to change a 100-year-old mentality that they say trivializes the single most common cause of traffic incidents: human error.

Almost all crashes stem from driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving and other risky activity. About 6 percent are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather and other factors.

At least 28 state departments of transportation have moved away from the term “accident” when referring to roadway incidents, according to Jeff Larason, director of highway safety for Massachusetts. The traffic safety administration changed its own policy in 1997, but has recently become more vocal about the issue.

On Facebook, he posted a Merriam-Webster definition that describes accident as “an unexpected happening” that “is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.” These days, the pressure to change the language stems partly from aggrieved families using social media like Facebook clubs and Twitter to lobby for change. Safety advocates often post Twitter messages to journalists and policy makers, urging them to stop using “accident” to describe a crash.

To read the entire New York Times article, follow this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/science/its-no-accident-advocates-want-to-speak-of-car-crashes-instead.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=3

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