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Accident versus Crash

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wstanley View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote wstanley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2016 at 1:43pm
In 2000 our state originally shifted from accident to collision and in 2014 adopted crash.  I also agree that the safety community should adopt one uniform term of crash.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote tgorman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/19/2016 at 11:15pm

The term crash is becoming more prevalent and is being taught as the proper description of the event. Crash investigation doesn't imply that it was accidental as many layers seem to want the term of accident to imply.  In CT it is called a "Connecticut Uniform Crash Report". I have to put my vote in for "crash"!  In regards to the earlier question/statement of running off the roadway - if there is no damage then it is not a crash, if there is any type of "harmful" event, regardless of how minor it may be then it would be considered a crash.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffLarason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/01/2016 at 10:30am
It's a question of accuracy.  Not all crashes are "accidents".   While it's also true that not all incidents are crashes, at least crash does not make a statement of personal fault, blame, intent.  "Accident" says something about the actions and behaviors of the people involved - crash, collision, wreck do not.  

The Associated Press has directed media reporters to avoid using "accident" in any crash event in which negligence is claimed or proven.  This is a statement that drunk, drugged, distracted, high speed, aggressive and other negligent crashes should not be called "accidents".  Not to mention that intentional events (road rage, murder, vehicular suicide) are in no way "accidents".  

In calling an incident "accident" we make a statement about the circumstances, and the mindset of the involved parties.  We are stating that there was no negligence and that there was no intent.  Again, in some cases this may be true, but we should not use a word that states this assumption.  Crash does not  make any accusation or implication of guilt, fault or blame.  It is a neutral statement regarding a physical circumstance.  

In addition to AP, as noted in other comments, NHTSA and AAMVA have long standing policies with regard to avoiding the word, as does the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  

Words have meaning.  We should use a word that most accurately reflects the circumstances and represents our knowledge of that circumstance.  I most cases we know it's an crash, we don't know that it's an "accident". 
Jeff Larason
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kellee_TSASS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/18/2016 at 12:42pm
I am attaching the current version of D.16 with changes from accident to crash.  In changing the terminology, I did not feel that ATSIP has either the expertise or the authority to change the term in regard to aircraft, watercraft or railway accidents.  I did, however, change the term in cases related to road vehicle crashes.  This includes other-road-vehicle crashes and street car crashes.  Please review and advise if the current changes are adequate, or have overstepped the bounds of this consensus body.  Other-road-vehicles and street cars were issues that I questioned.  Thanks for your review and comments related to the changes in this document.uploads/4/ANSI_D.16_-_CrashVSAccident-doc.doc


Joan Vecchi


Edited by Kellee_TSASS - Jul/18/2016 at 12:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mmcdonald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/08/2016 at 9:41pm
I concur with Joan and Bob Scopatz that it was not by "accident" that the term accident has been replaced for some time now with the work crash.  It took me some time and I often used them inter-changeably and some still do, but now most refer to the term crash for many of the reasons Bob points out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdolan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/19/2016 at 5:40pm
Originally posted by Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard wrote:

Section 2.4 of D16 is headed Accident and contains the definition of an accident as “an unstabilized situation which includes at least one harmful event”.

1.       Nick raised the case of: running-off-road accident in which no collision occurred. The current definition of an accident requires “at least one harmful event”, so for this case, it would not seem be an accident according to D16. A decision needs to be made if this case should be included in accident/crash. The definition in D16 should clarify if this case is, or is not a crash/accident.

2.       If a global replace is made to change Accident to Crash, then extra clarification should be added to explain the term Crash is used instead of Accident. Also an Accident entry should still be included in the definitions but point to the definitions of Crash and the Index should retain a pointer to this Accident definition. The reason for this proposal is D16 provides definitions, so a definition of Accident needs to be included to help anyone who looks up the term Accident.  

FYI: For about 20 years AAMVA has a had policy to use Crash in place of Accident, when possible. We still have a lot of places where we use Accident. The reason being many states operate computer systems that predate this policy. We tend to add notes saying “The terms Accident and Crash may be used synonymously”.

MMUCC does not include roadway departure as a harmful event, and ANSI defines a harmful event as " an occurrence of injury or damage." So, I think it's clear that merely leaving the roadway does not constitute a crash.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdolan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/19/2016 at 6:51pm
Originally posted by Kellee_TSASS Kellee_TSASS wrote:

I am attaching the current version of D.16 with changes from accident to crash.  In changing the terminology, I did not feel that ATSIP has either the expertise or the authority to change the term in regard to aircraft, watercraft or railway accidents.  I did, however, change the term in cases related to road vehicle crashes.  This includes other-road-vehicle crashes and street car crashes.  Please review and advise if the current changes are adequate, or have overstepped the bounds of this consensus body.  Other-road-vehicles and street cars were issues that I questioned.  Thanks for your review and comments related to the changes in this document.uploads/4/ANSI_D.16_-_CrashVSAccident-doc.doc


Joan Vecchi

If we insist on leaving 2.4.9 as "accident," but changing 2.4.12 and its included definitions to crash, then there are many places in the document where one would have to be careful to use both terms. Also, that still requires 2.4.12 to be included in 2.4.9 as an "accident." So, then a crash is defined as an accident. Now, because this is a manual for classifying motor vehicle accidents I find it a little strange that D.16 even addresses accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle as defined in 2.2.7, which 2.4.9 appears to do. Why not get rid of 2.4.9, and make every crash ("accident") defined in D.16 a subset of those defined in 2.4.12, which are really the only accidents to which this standard applies (according to the title)? Then you could use the word crash, like the majority of the traffic safety community, without worry that it isn't appropriate for some definitions in the standard, which aren't necessary for the classification of motor vehicle crashes anyway.


Edited by jdolan - Aug/19/2016 at 6:58pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffLarason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/15/2016 at 4:07pm
I know much of this discussion has been technical in nature, and I was not able to attend what sounds like a fruitful discussion in Baltimore.  I thought this quote from Justice Kagan in the majority opinion in Voisine versus US might be of some interest.  Thanks. 

“Reckless conduct, which requires the conscious disregard of a known risk, is not an accident: It involves a deliberate decision to endanger another.”

Jeff Larason
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