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Why “Accident” May be Considered a Harmful Term


Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on May 25, 2016 in Car Accidents

school bus car crashAs motor vehicle fatalities reach a rate not seen in half a century, some safety advocates want the terminology commonly used to refer to these tragedies changed.

"Accidents," the most commonly used term, is defined as an unfortunate incident that unexpectedly or unintentionally happened. However, the most common cause of motor vehicle collisions is human error.

Grassroots groups, safety advocates, state and local leaders, and federal officials, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are campaigning to change the verbiage. Some say the term "accident" trivializes how human error impacts traffic incidents.

It is estimated that only about six percent of automotive collisions are caused by vehicle malfunctions, bad weather and other uncontrollable factors. Furthermore, the National Safety Council has revealed that fatal collisions increased by eight percent in 2015; the number of distracted driving incidents also continues to increase despite new laws across many states.

One of the first states to drop the use of "accident" was Massachusetts in 1997. On Jan. 1, 2016, Nevada passed a law in the Legislature to change "accident" to "crash" when mentioned in state laws, insurance and police reports. Two years ago, New York City approved a similar policy as did San Francisco.

Approximately 28 state departments of transportation have shifted away from using the term "accident." In April, the Associated Press also announced a new policy stating that if negligence is claimed or proven in a crash, reporters should avoid using the term "accident."

At least two campaigns have also been launched against the use of "accident." A former traffic reporter has a blog called "Drop the A" while a grassroots effort by Families for Safe Streets has a campaign entitled "Crash, Not Accident."
Although the use of the term will not make a difference in the number of collisions reported, it could change how people and organizations view such tragedies.

D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC has seen firsthand how negligence contributes to traffic incidents, which is why we believe in holding those responsible for the crash accountable for their actions. If you have been hurt in an automotive wreck, contact the knowledgeable car crash attorneys at D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC. We can help you fight for your rights.

Schedule a free case review by calling (866) 848-7077.