Not all crashes are "accidents". Crimes are not "accidents". It's not an "accident" when a person makes a decision to drive drunk, distracted, or in a negligent manner. Stop giving criminals a pass by calling it an "accident".
The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), conducted
from 2005 to 2007, was aimed at collecting on-scene information about the
events and associated factors leading up to crashes involving light vehicles.
Several facets of crash occurrence were investigated during data collection,
namely the pre-crash movement, critical pre-crash event, critical reason, and
the associated factors. A weighted sample of 5,470 crashes was investigated
over a period of two and a half years, which represents an estimated 2,189,000
crashes nationwide. About 4,031,000 vehicles, 3,945,000 drivers, and 1,982,000
passengers were estimated to have been involved in these crashes. The critical
reason, which is the last event in the crash causal chain, was assigned to the
driver in 94 percent (±2.2%)† of the crashes. In about 2 percent (±0.7%) of
the crashes, the critical reason was assigned to a vehicle component’s failure
or degradation, and in 2 percent (±1.3%) of crashes, it was attributed to the
environment (slick roads, weather, etc.). Among an estimated 2,046,000 drivers
who were assigned critical reasons, recognition errors accounted for about 41
percent (±2.1%), decision errors 33 percent (±3.7%), and performance errors 11
percent (±2.7%) of the crashes.
There is a hard core of campaigners for vehicle safety in the
U.S. – railing against the conditions that enable a daily toll of nearly 100
highway fatalities in this country. Within this community of individuals and
organizations there are no references to traffic accidents, only crashes.
I recently ran afoul of one of the most outspoken leaders of
this fragmented movement, Candace Lightner. Candace is president of WeSaveLives
and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Candace expressed her
displeasure with me after I referred to “accidents” in a blog about California
legislation (http://tinyurl.com/oukscr9 - Assembly Bill 1264) for the creation
of a database for the notification of the next of kin of crash victims.
This is something we hear quite a bit when we try to get
people, especially reporters to stop using the word “accident”.
“It doesn’t make any
“People don’t think about what the definition is.”
It's our belief that the prevalent overuse of the word "accident" puts people in the mindset that they are not responsible for the actions in crashes. It's not just drunk, drugged or distracted drivers. It's the rest of us who make errors in judgement or thoughtless decisions that lead to crashes. We all need to take responsibility for our actions, no matter how small if it led to a crash. The word "accident" allows us all to deflect that responsibility.
Scott Marshall wrote this excellent post on this blog The
Safe Driver some time ago.It’s a MUST
“If you believe these are accidents
then they will happen to you. If you change not just the word but the mentality
to ‘crash’ or ‘collision’, then you’re making the switch to believing they are
29 years ago, the IACP established a policy regarding the word “accident”.
"IACP join the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration in their
efforts to eliminate the use of the word “accident”."
IACP was a national leader in
recognizing that using the word “accident” to describe a crash “work(s) against
bringing the appropriate resources to bear on this problem which represents a
societal loss equivalent to 2.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Almost 30 years later, there is still work to be done as many states and cities continue to have "accident reports" and "accident reconstruction teams".
Read the full text of the IACP proclamation below.