According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years, with approximately 1.4 million people losing their lives each year due to road traffic crashes. Despite these alarming statistics, many still refer to these incidents as “accidents.” In this article, we’ll explore the importance of changing our terminology and embracing the concept that collisions are preventable, emphasizing the critical need for accountability and responsibility.
The Power of Words
In 2020, more than 40,000 people tragically lost their lives in traffic crashes in the United States, marking the highest number of fatalities since 2007. The scale of these losses is staggering, but even more astonishing is the widespread use of the term “accidents” to describe these events.
Advocates, including organizations like Together for Safer Roads (TSR), have been urging people for years to shift away from the word “accidents” when discussing road crashes. Their argument is clear: using the term “accident” diminishes our empowerment and accountability in making our roads safer.
The Case for Calling Them Collisions
Collisions should not be labeled as accidents because, in many cases, they are entirely avoidable. TSR details four compelling reasons why we need to stop referring to them as “accidents”:
Human Choices and Behavior: The choices and behavior of individuals often play a significant role in road collisions. Speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and other risky behaviors can lead to crashes. When a collision occurs as a result of these actions, labeling it an “accident” negates the crucial element of personal responsibility.
Road and Vehicle Design: Poorly designed and inadequately maintained roads, along with faulty vehicles, can contribute to collisions, particularly involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Calling these incidents “accidents” downplays the role of inadequate infrastructure and vehicle safety. It is the responsibility of governments, businesses, and citizens to collaborate in improving road and vehicle safety through discussion, funding, research, and action.
Laws and Enforcement: Only 34 countries have enacted laws targeting the top five road crash risk factors, which include speeding, drunk driving, seat belt usage, child safety restraints, and motorcycle helmets. Stronger laws and better enforcement are vital to reducing collisions. Individuals, businesses, and governments must work together to advocate for stricter laws and safer roads.
Education and Training: Young drivers, aged 15 to 29, account for a significant portion of road deaths and injuries. Research indicates that newer drivers who participate in graduated driver’s license programs are better protected, as are their passengers. Proper education and training can make a substantial difference in preventing collisions and saving lives.
The Path to Safer Roads
The DriveSafe Online team wholeheartedly aligns with the message promoted by Together For Safer Roads, emphasizing that road accidents are often the result of human factors that can be prevented. At DriveSafe Online, we believe that safety on the road is not just a matter of chance but a reflection of responsible driving behaviors and decisions. Our commitment to road safety is deeply rooted in the belief that education is a powerful tool in preventing road collisions and saving lives.
We envision a world where road safety is a collective responsibility, and every driver is equipped with the knowledge and skills to make safe choices on the road. Through our online defensive driving courses, we empower drivers with the education they need to understand the risks and challenges of the road, especially during adverse conditions. We emphasize the importance of accountability and responsible driving behavior, encouraging drivers to make safer choices that can prevent collisions.