Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18% of roadway fatalities involved people who were hit and killed while walking or bicycling.
Most vehicle-related deaths are preventable. Some safety advocates believe that changing the way we talk about these crashes may be a first step toward preventing fatalities.
Car Accident vs. Traffic Violence
Car crashes in the United States are typically reported as “accidents.” This term is used even when an innocent pedestrian or a bicyclist is struck by a motor vehicle. However, “accident” may not be an appropriate word to describe vehicle-related collisions.
Recently, safety advocates have suggested that such collisions instead be referred to “traffic violence,” especially if the victim of the collision is maimed or killed. This new language would help people understand that motor vehicle collisions are not routine occurrences in our daily lives that cannot be avoided, but instead involve the fault and blame of others.
Using “traffic violence” instead of “car accident” would focus on the fact that vehicle collisions are not true accidents, but are predictable and preventable. As a result, people will begin to think of how vehicle safety can be improved.
How Wording Affects Perception of Fault
The word “accident” is consistently and repeatedly used by reporters when describing serious collisions. When a person hears about an “accident,” they are presented with a scenario when the driver is absolved of fault for any responsibility for the incident.
Furthermore, vehicle-related injuries are typically reported in the media without context. For example, if there is a pedestrian fatality at a dangerous intersection, the media will typically fail to report whether similar accidents had occurred in the past. Without context, the audience may assume that the pedestrian is at fault, rather than consider other contributing factors.
A recent study performed by Texas A&M and Rutgers University found that reports of vehicle collisions that focused on the pedestrian, instead of the driver, lead the readers to assess 30% more blame to the driver.
Therefore, making changes in the way car crashes are reported can shift the perception of car crashes from “accidents” to a preventable public health issue.
Leading Causes of ‘Traffic Violence’ in Virginia
There were 827 vehicle-related fatalities in Virginia in 2019, according to recent reports from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, over 65,000 people in Virginia suffered injuries due to traffic violence in 2019.
Furthermore, in 2019, 126 pedestrians and 13 bicyclists were killed in traffic violence incidents in Virginia, and 754 cyclists and 1,896 pedestrians suffered injuries in vehicle-related violence.
The study also found that the leading causes of traffic violence in Virginia are:
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced/teenaged drivers
- Impaired driving
- Fatigued driving
If you were the victim of traffic violence, it’s important that you understand your legal rights and options and hold the negligent party accountable.
Injured in a Car Accident in Virginia Beach? Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you were injured in traffic violence in Virginia, the car accident attorneys at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. are here to help you seek the compensation that you deserve.
Call us now to discuss your case. We can also be reached through online chat or by email. The initial consultation is free.