Drop the “A” Word

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There is a growing group of traffic safety specialists who are advocating a change from using the word “accident” to describe traffic crashes.  Using “accident” implies that the incident was somehow no one’s fault.  That isn’t true.  It is always someone’s fault.  Maybe they didn’t intend to crash into someone but because they drove badly or made bad choices while driving, they caused a crash.

I share that logic.  I urge officers to write tickets to at-fault drivers.  The intent being to change driver behavior.  Even when drivers run off the road in bad weather and damage their cars or public property (signs or roadway fixtures) I advocate that the officers write tickets.  Even on those days, most cars and drivers stay on the road.  If they properly drive slower and more carefully they stay on the roadway.  If they maintain their vehicles by having operational safety equipment including tires with tread — they save everyone–mostly themselves.

So let’s change the mentality that traffic “accidents” are really no one’s fault.  Let’s use traffic “crashes” instead to bring attention to the fact that drivers control their cars and their behavior in the car.

Here is a blog by a former traffic reporter on the subject: “Drop the “A” Word”

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.