Crash or Accident?
If, like me and millions of other Americans, you used the Waze navigation app for your Labor Day holiday driving, you probably encountered somewhere along the way a screen like this one:
Last year, that screen would have been different. Rather than notifying the user of a crash, the word would have been accident.
The change is due in large part to the efforts of Jeff Larason, a former Boston traffic reporter who’s now the director of highway safety for Massachusetts. For about four years, he and like-minded colleagues, including Candace Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, have been trying to get rid of accident in reference to traffic collisions. If a drunk or distracted driver plows into another vehicle, they argue, how accidental is that? “The word wrongly implies that human decisions and actions have nothing to do with it,” Larason says.
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A car “accident” could be many things, like a teenager running over a curb, or even someone spilling coffee inside a car. Technically, these are “accidents.” But a crash, wreck, or collision implies that one vehicle came into contact with another and that one person is liable for the damages.ReplyDelete
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Please refer to any dictionary.
An accident is, among other things, unintentional. It is also an unpredictable, chance event, an act of god.
Driving drunk will predictably result in a crash. Crashes that occur when driving drunk are not "accidents".
In your examples, was the teen distracted by their cell phone? In that case, it would not be an "accident" because distracted driving crashes are predictable and not "acts of god."
We also disagree with your statement that a crash implies liability for damages. Crash is completely neutral with regard to fault or blame. As you say, it notes a physical interaction. It does not imply guilt.
Accident, on the other hand, implies the opposite. It implies that the participants were not at fault, were not negligent, were not participating in criminal acts.
If you are representing the injured, you would be much better off calling them crashes. If you call it an "accident" you are implying to the court that the defendant was innocent. You are undercutting your own efforts.
If you are defending the guilty, then go ahead, lie as much as you like.
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The word accident implies that a car crash happened through the fault of nobody in particular. This can be seen in the commonly used phrase, “It was just an accident.” On the other hand, the word crash indicates that someone caused the car wreck to happen, or that someone is actually at fault. The reality of the situation is that it is very rare for a car crash to be just an accident, usually someone is at fault for the wreck.ReplyDelete
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