A seemingly “simple” word choice can save a life.
That’s the message from the advocates at Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, who are taking their #CrashNotAccident campaign to the Associated Press. The news service is currently accepting suggestions for the 2016 AP Stylebook. TransAlt and FSS and their network of 150,000 supporters are calling on the AP to stop using the word “accident” in stories about traffic crashes.
“When people view preventable tragedies as ‘accidents,’ that erodes public and political will to enact changes, changes that have been proven to save lives, changes like street redesigns and better enforcement,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We’ve seen government agencies like the NYPD change their approach to crash investigations by dropping the word ‘accident.’ By changing the language we use when we talk about street safety, media outlets like the Associated Press have the power to change not only the conversation, but also the culture.”
“The word ‘accident’ is demeaning to people who have survived a crash or lost a loved one in traffic” said Amy Cohen of Families for Safe Streets. “By refusing to say ‘accident,’ we are reminding everyone that we can fix dangerous streets, and we can deter careless, negligent and reckless driving.”
Families for Safe Streets will be emphasizing the #CrashNotAccident message as the group observes the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday, November 15th with a march to the United Nations.
More information about the #CrashNotAccident campaign is available at crashnotaccident.com