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Why Car Crashes Shouldn't Be Called "Accidents" Anymore

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 ...

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 important?

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 in nature.

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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