What’s in a name? Apparently, the term ‘accident’ may have something to do with how people view their responsibilities as drivers. Typically, when a reference is made to automobile collisions, people call it an accident. However, safety advocate groups would like to see these incidences called ‘crashes’ in order to focus attention on the problem of human error. They believe the use of the word accident implies that no one is at fault when crashes occur, fueling widespread apathy among drivers. With roadway fatalities increasing at a rate not seen in 50 years, many are calling for a change in semantics.
According to the nonprofit National Safety Council, fatal car crashes rose by approximately 6 percent in 2016 over the previous year, killing nearly 40,000 people, and 2016 fatal car crashes were the highest in nine years. Fatal car accidents increased an alarming 14% in just two years. The most drastic increase in fatal car accidents in 53 years. Motor vehicle deaths in 2016 are estimated to be the highest in almost a decade. Most of all fatal crashes are a result of driver behavior such as distracted driving, driving while intoxicated and other risky behaviors. Less than 10 percent are linked to vehicle malfunctions or weather. Since, the cause of many of these wrecks result from negligent actions taken by one or more drivers, some say ‘call it what it is’ – a crash – rather than referring to it as an accident outside of a driver’s control.
As of 2014, New York City’s policy states the city “must no longer regard traffic crashes as mere accidents, in an effort to reduce roadway injuries and fatalities. San Francisco and other cities and at least 28 departments of transportation have adopted similar policies. Last year, the Associated Press announced a new policy stating that, when negligence is claimed or proven in a crash, reporters should avoid using the term ‘accident’, which can be read by some as a term exonerating the person responsible.
Contact a Fatal Car Crash Attorney
Many, including a number of aggrieved families who have lost someone to a car crash, hope that changing the language will lead to more responsible driving. With the rate of traffic fatalities rising, calling out negligent drivers may be a step in the right direction. If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa motor vehicle crash, it is important to hold negligent drivers accountable and to seek compensation to aid in your recovery. Contact our Iowa personal injury lawyers at John T. Hemminger Law Offices for help at 515-283-2116.
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