It’s Not an Accident!

Source: Autoblog (see the rest of this graphic here)

“Accident” is a term we use to avoid responsibility for the behavior that causes crashes.

Drunk driving is not an accident. Cell phone use is not an accident. Distracted, aggressive and irresponsible operation of a vehicle is not an accident. Failure to use due care is not an accident.

Our cavalier attitude toward driving is not an accident. It is a direct result of our failure to take personal responsibility for the consequences of our actions and, likewise, to hold our peers accountable for theirs. It has been nurtured and reinforced through compensation for incompetence in road design and emphasis on engineering safety features in cars.

We are not helpless. We can change this if we want to.

3 replies
  1. rodney
    rodney says:

    Don’t forget we live in the land of entitlement. Last time I checked, the world owed me nothing.

  2. JohnB
    JohnB says:

    I got curious about the actual definition of “accident”. I know when we criticize using “accident” instead “crash”, we are criticizing the implication that nothing could have been done to prevent it. However, I think most people who don’t think about it, think of it as an “accident” merely in the sense that it was unintended.

    Turns out has both senses:

    1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: [automobile accidents.]

    2. [Law.] such a happening resulting in injury that is in no way the fault of the injured person for which compensation or indemnity is legally sought.

    ( 5 more definitions … )

    So the ambiguity is that most people use the word in the first sense, which does not imply anything about fault, only intent, whereas we would like people to think of it more in the second, legal, sense, even when no lawsuit is involved.

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  1. […] If we were all mindful of this possibility while operating our vehicles, there would be a lot less carnage on our roads. Unfortunately, the very fact that most people consistently get away with moments of […]

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