Should we call it a car crash or a car accident when describing a motor
vehicle collision? Many safety advocates and lawmakers across the country
are pushing for roadway collisions to be described as a "crash"
as opposed to the old mentality of calling it an "accident."
The goal of this movement is to emphasize that most motor vehicle crashes
are caused by preventable human error, such as alcohol, texting, or distracted
driving. The concern is that the term "accident" trivializes
the cause of the crash as if no one is at fault, which in turn can deter
This article from the New York Times describes the debate on this issue:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/science/its-no-accident-advocates-want-to-speak-of-car-crashes-instead.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 The article makes an interesting point that the use of "accident"
was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries
in the early 1900s when companies were looking to protect themselves from
the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job. When traffic
deaths spiked in the 1920s, the auto industry borrowed the phrase "accident"
to shift the focus away from the cars and the growing auto industry, and
place the blame on the drivers. But over time, the word has come to exonerate drivers.
As lawyers representing injured victims, we have seen countless lives forever
changed by inattentive and reckless driving. Most people forget that driving
is usually the most dangerous activity that most of us do everyday. Unfortunately,
as this article from the New York Times mentions, roadway fatalities are
soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years. We all need to pay better attention
to this problem in effort to make roadways safer. As such, Rourke &
Blumenthal supports this movement, even if it is just semantics, because
little things can make a big difference.