4 Reasons You Should Stop Calling Vehicle Crashes ?Accidents”

two firefighters at a car crash

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years. And approximately 1.4 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. And yet, many people still refer to those incidents as “accidents.”

While Americans are driving less due to the 2019 pandemic and resulting “work from home” norms of some employees, more than 40,000 people died in traffic crashes in 2020 ? the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. 

Numerous non-profit, governmental, and business leaders ? including we at Together for Safer Roads (TSR)?have been encouraging people for years to stop using the word ?accident” when referring to a car crash, saying that it detracts from our own empowerment and responsibility to make the roads a safer place.

Advocates say we should call the occurrences what they really are: crashes and collisions. According to The New York Times, in 2016, 28 U.S. state departments of transportation have changed their terminology from “accidents” to “crashes” yet the term “accidents” is still far too prevalent.

Crashes should not be called accidents because they are preventable. Here are four reasons why we should all stop calling road crashes “accidents.”

  1. Because the choices and behavior of people are sometimes at the heart of a crash. Speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving can lead to crashes. Other risk factors include fatigue, stress, illicit drugs, and inexperienced driving. The way one drives is sometimes a choice made by people. When the result is a crash, calling it an “accident” negates responsibility.
  2. Because road and vehicle design may be at fault.