Just an Accident? Why We Need to Call Car Wrecks “Crashes”

July 26, 2016 by

“It was an accident.” We’ve all heard this line — maybe from a young child who broke something, maybe from a friend or relative who made a mistake, or maybe from a stranger who damaged your property or hurt you. Regardless of the circumstances, “it was an accident” is rarely uttered without some sense of guilt or contrition; it often communicates that someone didn’t intend for something to happen, but it doesn’t mean that something was unpreventable.

On a small scale — a broken vase, a scuff on the bumper, a spilled drink — “accidents” can be taken at face value: they didn’t hurt anyone, they’re not going to affect your budget, and a sincere apology is enough to let things pass. With car “accidents,” however, people do get hurt (or lose their lives), the financial burden for medical treatment (not to mention getting a car repaired) quickly becomes overwhelming, and an apology is appreciated but can’t absolve someone for their behavior, especially when the consequences are so severe.

The simple truth is that car “accidents” are rarely, if ever, truly an accident. The overwhelming majority of car wrecks result from specific decisions individual drivers make. In fact, the top three causes of car crashes in the United States are:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Drunk Driving
  • Speeding

Every time drivers choose to look at their phones instead of focusing on the road, exceed the speed limit, or get behind the wheel when they are under the influence, their chances for causing a crash increase exponentially.

Unfortunately, those poor choices don’t only put the driver at risk; their passengers, other drivers, and even pedestrians or cyclists share the risk associated with their decision. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death every year for all age groups, and they are the leading cause of death every year for teens, so it’s clear that the consequences of not dedicating 100% of your focus to the road are grave.

Calling these negligent actions “accidents” downplays the responsibility that drivers have to the safety not only of themselves but of everyone sharing the road with them. While “car accident” is still the accepted term for many people, the attorneys at Hossley & Embry know that when you are the victim in a car crash, it is no accident. Another driver made a choice that resulted in the collision, and they should be held responsible for their decision.

If you or someone you know has been injured or lost a loved one as a result of another driver’s poor choices, call Hossley & Embry right away at (866) 522-9265 or fill out a convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


Traffic safety facts: 2014 crash data key findings. (2015, November). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812219.pdf

Categories: Car Accidents