Is it a car “accident” or car “crash”?

I recently read an article entitled, “We’ve Been Brainwashed Into Saying ‘Car Accident.’”  As I read the article, I could not have agreed more.  The dictionary definition of “accident” is “an event that is not planned or intended.”

While it is true that almost no one intends to crash their vehicle, people make choices that cause automobile crashes.  Some choices that people make include drinking and driving, texting while driving, speeding, following too close, driving fatigued, and driving with known defects, such as faulty brakes.  These are just some of the reasons or causes of car, truck and motorcycle accidents in Arkansas.  For example, when an individual decides to drive drunk, he or she is making a choice. And if a crash occurs, it should not be described as an “accident.”

The term “accident” infers that it is like spilling milk or a random occurrence.  However, a car crash almost always involves a human choice.  Interestingly, the article points out that the word “accident” was pushed by factory owners during the Industrial Revolution who wanted to absolve themselves of liability for having unsafe work conditions.  Additionally, car companies pushed the term “accident” in the 1920s when use of automobiles became more widespread.  Recently, insurance companies use the term to try to avoid liability or minimize the damages suffered by an injured auto crash victim.

The leading causes of car crashes are:

  1. distracted driving (texting);
  2. speeding;
  3. drunk driving.

These three decisions that lead to crashes should not be classified as car accidents.  The article advocates using the term “car crash” instead of “car accident” so that people do not underestimate or lessen their obligation to drive a vehicle safely for the sake of their passengers and the other vehicles on the road.

This is a good lesson for all of us to learn.  Decisions made behind the wheel of an automobile can affect your family and someone else’s family forever.  Please be safe as we drive on this holiday weekend.  And remember to drive responsibly and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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