We hear a lot from reporters who defend use of the word “accident” by saying that no-one crashes intentionally. But let’s look at the definition. When you Google “accident definition” this is what you get.
1. an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.
2. an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.
So lets break this down.
Unexpectedly – Drunk, drugged, negligent, and criminal driving crashes are not unexpected. A driver may not intend to crash, but the resulting crashes, and the tragic results, are wholly predictable.
Apparent or Deliberate Cause – The causes of most crashes are apparent. There is little doubt when a driver is drunk, drugged, distracted and/or speeding as to the cause.
In 2013 alcohol-impaired driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Approximately 10% of motor vehicle fatalities result from Distracted Driving. Some data indicate that as much of 90% of crashes result from human error, or poor decisions. These are not “accidents”.
“Accidents” are rare. Crashes are common.
There certainly are “accidents”, but reporters make a mistake when they use the word “accident” as a ubiquitous description of all crashes. By definition an accident is an “act of god”. A tree falling on a car, or a crash resulting from a mechanical failure could be defined as “accidents”.