LANSING (WLNS) – The Michigan Department of Transportation is encouraging people to use the word, “crash” over the word, “accident” when references traffic crashes.
“An accident cannot be reasonably foreseen,” Spl/Lt. Derrick Carroll, public information officer for Michigan State Police (MSP) Seventh District said. “A crash is the result of choices made and a disregard for safety. That’s why we in law enforcement call it a traffic crash and never an accident.”
When a traffic crash is referred to as an “accident,” it implies that no one takes responsibility for the consequences. Calling an incident an accident also implies that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it.
Most crashes result from distracted, drugged, or drunken drivers or unsafe or illegal actions, such as driving too fast for wet or icy conditions and failing to stop for stop signs or signals. A few of these are the result of equipment failures, animals or medical emergencies.
As a result, emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and other first responders are changing how they talk about crashes as well.
The word “accident” was used in the early 1900s by companies who wanted to avoid being held liable for workers injured on the job. In the 1920s, automakers and insurers began using it as well in an effort to put the blame onto others, but it has since come to be used as an equivalent term for “crash” to absolve drivers as well.