According to an
article recently published in the New York Times, road fatalities have skyrocketed to their highest point in the past 50
years, caused by crashes and collisions caused by drivers. In 2015, deadly
crashes rose by nearly 8 percent over the previous year’s numbers,
killing roughly 38,000 people. As a result of this boom, numerous safety
advocates, federal officials and local leaders across the nation have
begun campaigning to change the nearly century’s old mentality of
referring to crashes as “accidents.” But why is this language
Using the word “accident” removes the blame from all involved
parties and makes collisions seem as if they happen all on their own.
The truth of the matter is that nearly all crashes are the result of human
error or risky behavior while behind the wheel. Driving while intoxicated,
distracted driving, and other negligent activities are the cause of a
vast majority of collisions, with only 6 percent of crashes being caused
by vehicle malfunctions, bad weather, or other non-driver factors.
Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), commented on the matter, saying that “When you use the
word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen.’”
Changing the semantics will hopefully bring more awareness to the issue
of driver error and minimize attitudes that traffic collisions are unpreventable
Numerous government bodies throughout the nation have already taken steps
to remove the term “accident” from laws and policies regarding
traffic collisions, including the states of Nevada and New York. At least
28 different state departments of transportation have gravitated away
from referring to crashes as accidents, with the NHTSA itself having changed
its policy on the matter in 1997.
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