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Advocates Seek to Drop the “A” Word

A growing number of safety advocates are pressing to have the word “accident” abandoned when discussing car crashes and collisions. The reason? According to these advocates, the word “accident” leads to the development of apathy in drivers toward behaviors and attitudes that contribute to car crashes. According to a New York Times article, the word accident implies an occurrence that is both unavoidable and unforeseeable – something that the at-fault driver could not prevent. However, advocates point out that many of the primary causes of car accidents – distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or violating traffic and speeding laws – are well within the control of drivers.

Making Drivers Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Advocates hope that by changing the term “car accident” to “car crash” in the laws and literature of states, they will help change the public’s attitude toward the importance of driver behavior. More specifically, it is hoped that a change in terminology will help drivers understand that their behaviors and actions behind the wheel can increase (or decrease) the likelihood of a car crash. For example:

  • Drivers can not consume alcohol or drugs before driving, thereby reducing (perhaps eliminating altogether) the likelihood of causing an impaired driving crash;
  • Drivers can choose to put their cell phones away while driving and pay attention to the road, reducing the likelihood of a distracted driving collision;
  • Drivers can obey the rules of the road and drive defensively, thereby reducing the chance of a crash caused by errors of judgment.

Advocates worry that continued use of the word “accident” by legislators and other safety organizations and advocates allow drivers to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Is There Such a Thing as a Traffic “Accident”?

To be certain, there are such things as car “accidents” – truly unavoidable and unforeseeable events that cause injury or death to others on the road. However, these “accidents” are not as common as one might believe. For example, an “accident” might occur when a driver is carefully traveling along a poorly-lit country road at night when a deer or other animal jumps from the shoulder of the road into the driver’s car, causing the driver to slam on his or her brakes and causing the vehicle traveling behind the driver to crash into the rear of the driver’s car. A thorough investigation into any crash is necessary to determine if the incident is a true “accident” or a crash that can result in liability.

Have You Been Injured in a Philadelphia Car Crash?

The Philadelphia car crash law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. has over four decades of experience in helping car crash victims recover the compensation they need from at-fault drivers. Our firm will investigate the cause of your crash and has the knowledge and resources necessary to help resolve your case quickly and effectively. Contact our office by telephone or complete our online form and discuss your car crash case with us today.


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