You may hear the words “accident” and “crash” when news stories discuss traffic incidents. While most people do not think about how they use words to describe traffic incidents, it may be time to think about what label we put on them. Some people have suggested using the term “traffic violence.” At JML Law, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys want to discuss why some groups think this language is important and how it could affect you.
What sounds worse – “traffic accident” or “traffic violence.”
When discussing traffic incidents, most people use the word “accident.” For example, you may hear a new story begin with the following phrases:
A recent news story pointed out that traffic crashes claimed the lives of over 200 people in Los Angeles in 2019, and that the number may be more than 2018 deaths when final tallies are made. More than half of the fatalities were pedestrians struck by drivers in the city.
Safety advocates are pushing for officials and news agencies to remove the word “accident” from traffic vocabulary. They say they would prefer the term “traffic violence,” especially when describing collisions when a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured or killed. Advocates argue that the long-term use of the word “accident” has minimized the seriousness of these incidents. They say that using the word “accident” creates a perception block about who is responsible when drivers cause these fatal incidents, that “accident” makes it seem like the incidents were not preventable.
However, we know that most pedestrian and bicycle accidents are preventable. They are often caused by careless or negligent driving behaviors, including the following:
Safety advocates point out that when a 4-year-old girl was killed while walking with her mother in a marked crosswalk in October, the LAPD called the incident an “unfortunate accident.”
The word “accident” is deeply rooted in the way we discuss traffic incidents. Even incidents caused by intoxicated drivers are often labeled as “accidents” when they clearly were not caused by accident. They were caused by a negligent drunk driver. Hit-and-run incidents, even intentional ones, are often called “accidents” in the media.
It is time to rethink how we define these incidents.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a traffic crash caused by another person’s careless or negligent actions, seek legal assistance today. At JML Law, we are dedicated to helping those who are injured secure the compensation they deserve. This can include,