There is a public health crisis on the roads.
About 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. last year.
That’s more than the entire population of Lynnwood, Washington. If everyone in Lynnwood—or in Bothell, or Walla Walla—died in one year, there would be a massive public outcry.
We would demand answers, accountability, and changes.
We have all become too accustomed to senseless deaths and injuries on U.S. roads.
I do not want to accept a public health crisis as a series of “accidents.”
Most “car accidents” are preventable.
An “accident” is an event that is neither predictable nor preventable.
The majority of car crashes are caused by a driver who is:
- Ignoring traffic signals;
- Making bad driving decisions; or
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Other crashes may be the result of bad road design or unsafe vehicles.
These are predictable and preventable collisions: not “accidents.”
“Car accident” implies that no one is at fault.
Have you ever heard of a “plane accident”?
No. The common phrase is “plane crash.”
That’s because we know that planes don’t just fall out of the sky. Something goes wrong. It may be purposeful, or it may be negligent. But a plane crash is very rarely a “plane accident.“
Most people do not deliberately set out to crash their vehicles. But if someone is texting and speeding, are you really surprised when they crash?
Yet, we continue to refer to car crashes as “accidents”.
It’s time to change the way we think—and speak—about car crashes.
Driving a car is the most dangerous activity that most people do on a daily basis. Because we do it so often, many drivers are dangerously casual about it.
When you are behind the wheel, driving is your primary task.
Not talking on your cellular phone, not eating a sandwich, or fixing your hair. Every driver on public roads and highways has a duty to take driving seriously.
This is a change in thought, and in language, for many people.
Coluccio Law wants to help make that change.
In 2016, the Associated Press changed its policy on the use of the word “accident.”
Now, most major news organizations use “crash”, “collision” or “incident”.
Several state legislatures are removing the word “accident” from state laws.
Many police departments—including the Seattle Police Department—no longer use “accident” in their crash reports. Law enforcement reports are referred to as “Traffic Collision Report” not “accident report”.
We have joined them.
Our blog has changed. Our website has changed.
The way we talk about traffic violence has changed.
Say Crash Not Accident
We have seen too many innocent people hurt by preventable collisions.
We have helped too many families through years of litigation after truck crash injuries and fatalities, pedestrian collisions, and other tragedies.
We have removed it from our office communications.
We ask that you think about how you use the word “accident”. Can you pledge to say “car crash” instead of “car accident”?
If you say #crashnotaccident, tell me about it – @kevincoluccio
Image of Lynnwood, Washington courtesy of flickr user michaelwm25