Words Matter: This isn’t a Plaza, it’s a Strip Mall

Posted on Posted in Communication

The “Crash Not Accident” Pledge reminded me of this post I wrote in 2010. Beyond misusing the word “Plaza,” I pointed out that “The difference between car accident and car crash. Car “accident” automatically removes any responsibility and accountability from a driver.”

But it really isn’t JUST the driver that bears responsibility, we live in a society that is built on unsafe transportation that is practically begging for crashes to happen. According to the US Census “About 86 percent of U.S. workers commuted by automobile in 2013, down from about 88 percent in 2000.”

That’s not down enough!
We need to build the infrastructure that supports people making choices that are safer and healthier for individuals and the environment. We need to fund public transportation and make it accessible and attractive enough so that it makes sense for people to leave their cars. We need to continue building streets and roads that beckon bicyclists of all ages and levels of confidence.

And while we work on these things we need to use accurate language when describing the failures of these modes. Pledge to say “crash not accident.”

From the Crash Not Accident pledge:

“Before the labor movement, factory owners would say “it was an accident” when American workers were injured in unsafe conditions.

Before the movement to combat drunk driving, intoxicated drivers would say “it was an accident” when they crashed their cars.

Planes don’t have accidents. They crash. Cranes don’t have accidents. They collapse. And as a society, we expect answers and solutions.

Traffic crashes are fixable problems, caused by dangerous streets and unsafe drivers. They are not accidents. Let’s stop using the word “accident” today.”

Take the pledge at http://crashnotaccident.com/

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