Crash not Accident

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PaulCumbria
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Crash not Accident

Postby PaulCumbria » 3 Jun 2014, 5:59pm

Here's an article I've just had published in my local paper, the Westmorland Gazette. Not directly about cycling, it does address the fatalistic attitude widely displayed towards road deaths, and the farcically lenient sentencing that often follows:

Image

(Sorry about my 'Mr Serious' face...)

irc
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby irc » 3 Jun 2014, 6:28pm

I prefer "road accident" myself. It is as per the RTA and unlike "crash" covers the entire spectrum from a scratched bumper to a high speed crash. I think it's more neutral.
Crash has connotations of breaking violently or noisily; smashing, or sudden damage or destruction on impact.

I'm not convinced that anyone's behaviour will changed by seeing or hearing people using crash instead of accident.

Bicycler
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby Bicycler » 3 Jun 2014, 6:34pm

I prefer "incident". I agree with Paul about the word accident but agree with irc that crash might not be an adequate description for all road traffic incidents (for example where there is no actual collision)

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PaulCumbria
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby PaulCumbria » 3 Jun 2014, 7:31pm

Might be worth checking the Roadpeace website I referenced at the end of the piece. It makes it clear that the suggested use of 'crash' is not prescriptive, but rather that crash/collision/incident are a all more appropriate than accident, depending on the circumstances.

irc wrote:I'm not convinced that anyone's behaviour will changed by seeing or hearing people using crash instead of accident.

I don't think there's any expectation of changing driver behaviour. It's more about respecting the feelings of the bereaved, together with changing public attitudes towards a greater realisation that most incidents are very far away indeed from being accidental "acts of God".

And if a change in language can help to effect a change in attitudes, it can also lead towards more appropriate sentencing of those whose driving choices result in entirely predictable and preventable deaths and injuries.

irc
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby irc » 3 Jun 2014, 8:03pm

PaulCumbria wrote:Might be worth checking the Roadpeace website I referenced at the end of the piece. It makes it clear that the suggested use of 'crash' is not prescriptive, but rather that crash/collision/incident are a all more appropriate than accident, depending on the circumstances..


I disagree. Nobody thinks a road accident is an act of god. Wikipaedia defines "accident" as

An accident or a mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It usually implies a generally negative outcome which might have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident

This seems to cover perfectly RTAs which are usually unintended and avoidable. I'm not convinced public attitudes are changed by calling road accidents road crashes. If a relative of mine was killed I wouldn't feel any better if I was told they had been killed in a crash and not an accident.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby PaulCumbria » 3 Jun 2014, 8:07pm

We'll have to agree to differ in that case.

I'm surprised you choose to use the outdated RTA, when the Police themselves have longsince accepted Roadpeace's argument and now utilise RTC instead.

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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby Bicycler » 3 Jun 2014, 8:42pm

Well, I think that calling something an accident before knowing anything about the cause of the incident is problematic. There will be a minority of incidents where somebody is intentionally run down or is hit as a result of road rage (punishment passes gone wrong etc) which cannot be properly labelled accidents. We don't go labelling deaths accidental until a coroner has come to that conclusion, it would be entirely inappropriate to speculate. We should not go labelling road incidents accidents until it has been proven that they are. Certainly I cannot think or a reason why accident would be preferable to a neutral term such as incident or crash (where appropriate) which doesn't make assumptions about intent before anybody has ascertained the facts.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby PaulCumbria » 3 Jun 2014, 9:45pm

Precisely.

irc
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby irc » 3 Jun 2014, 10:03pm

Bicycler wrote:There will be a minority of incidents where somebody is intentionally run down or is hit as a result of road rage (punishment passes gone wrong etc) which cannot be properly labelled accidents. We don't go labelling deaths accidental until a coroner has come to that conclusion, it would be entirely inappropriate to speculate. We should not go labelling road incidents accidents until it has been proven that they are. Certainly I cannot think or a reason why accident would be preferable to a neutral term such as incident or crash (where appropriate) which doesn't make assumptions about intent before anybody has ascertained the facts.


Likewise there are many road accidents which hardly merit the description of being a crash. A road accident includes non accidental accidents. The instructions for which accidents are reportable specifically includes "accidents resulting from deliberate acts of violence"

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/ser ... 9-2011.pdf

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PaulCumbria
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby PaulCumbria » 3 Jun 2014, 10:18pm

Surreal, isn't it? Language is sometimes so corrupted that phrases like "non accidental accident" take on a spurious legitimacy.

Your link shows us that the indiscriminate use of 'accident' to describe all RTCs is wrong, very wrong.

Pete Owens
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby Pete Owens » 4 Jun 2014, 1:00am

Definately with Paul on this one - and I thought that change in terminology had long been accepted and was uncontroversial. The widespread use of "accident" did most certainly trivialise things and contributed to a sense of collisions being just one of those things we have to live with. Accident is not a neutral term and does imply a lack of fault - which is only true in about 10% of cases (brake failure and the like). It is also entirely meaningless in terms of actually describing what event took place.

However, reporting now has become so excesively neutral that we are getting equally meaningless reports. We now often hear reports such as "An 87 year old pensionner was in collision with a car". When what they actually mean is "run over by". You can bet they wouldn't be reporting it at all if the pensionner had bumped into the car.

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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby JimL » 4 Jun 2014, 9:08am

Agreed. Language is important and the vast majority of road deaths and injury are not accidents but the inevitable consequence of the behaviour and attitude of road users.

reohn2
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby reohn2 » 4 Jun 2014, 9:16am

PaulCumbria wrote:Surreal, isn't it? Language is sometimes so corrupted that phrases like "non accidental accident" take on a spurious legitimacy.

Your link shows us that the indiscriminate use of 'accident' to describe all RTCs is wrong, very wrong.


Agreed.
There is no such thing as an accident,there is only cause and effect.
The cause is just that,whether that be bad driving,bad road layout/planning,low flying seagull,icy road,whatever,but there will be a cause.
In the vast majority of incidents it'll be road user error/stupidity.
Every incident can be traced to the cause,whether it's worth the time and effort is another matter.

IMO in this increasingly freaky country I live in,the need to keep statistics down to prove politrickians and police chiefs are doing a good job that effort is waning,enter the word accident,it's a convenient scapegoat IMHO.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Jun 2014, 9:51am

It seems to me that the real problem is in concentrating on the results of bad driving, rather than the bad driving itself.

reohn2
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Re: Crash not Accident

Postby reohn2 » 4 Jun 2014, 9:54am

thirdcrank wrote:It seems to me that the real problem is in concentrating on the results of bad driving, rather than the bad driving itself.

Spot on!
The problem is that it's becoming an almost a fatalistic occurrence for some drivers,a bit like a speeding ticket :?
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