The preferred word these days is “collision.” Or maybe crash. But collision is #1. So much so that you can read the word four times in three sentences when some reporters report on traffic accidents:
Now let’s hear from a junior SFMTA spokesperson (Total Cost Of Employment = five figures per month) on the topic of traffic accidents:
“When describing traffic collisions, most of us have grown up using the word “accident.” But traffic “accidents” are preventable, which is why we at the SFMTA refer to them as collisions or crashes.”
Let’s see here, if you crash into something, either you did it on purpose or it was an accident, right? Preventability doesn’t enter into the equation. At all. And if we’re searching for a term for a preventable accident, why not use “preventable accident?”
The words we use can have a powerful influence on the way we view traffic injuries, and calling them “accidents” implies that nothing can be done to stop them.
I’ll disagree again here. Calling an accident an accident does not in any way imply that that nothing can be done to stop them. In fact, studying accidents, like “airplane accidents” for instance, is a really excellent way to determine who was at fault and what can be done differently in future.