ACCIDENTS v. CRASHES-WHEN WORDS MATTER

The key characteristic of any language are the words that epitomize it, and the baggage those words carry. One of the words that carries such baggage is the word accident. It is one of the most misused words in the English language, and is a word that is commonly used incorrectly and inappropriately to define a car crash caused by ones negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines accident as “an unexpected happening” that “is not due to the fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured…” The term when used inappropriately can be read by some as exonerating the person responsible. The word accident conveys a no-fault attitude. A statement that someone has been involved in an accident should never be used to define a collision caused by the inappropriate conduct of a driver ( i.e. speeding, running a stop sign or light, texting, driving while under the influence, or failing to stop for a pedestrian in a designated crosswalk) that results in the injury to another human being. Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate of speed not seen in 50 years, and those crashes are mainly due to the wrongful conduct of drivers. The fact is words matter, but when words are improperly wielded, they can be dangerous weapons. Let’s take the time to use them well.

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