Totally agree with John. WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety (BOTS) changed
the title of their annual report from Accident Facts to Crash Facts in the
early 1980’s for the reasons John states. Some 30+ years later, the
legislature has not caught up to WisDOT BOTS. State Statutes still refer to
these incidents as accidents and thus the form that has to be filed with WisDOT
DMV when a crash occurs is an Accident Report. Perhaps the place to start is
to change the state statute language from Accident to Crash. The media reports
what they are fed by others like WisDOT, Police, Medical Examiners, etc. If we
can change the language used by the sources, then the media will change. If
the media changes, then the public is likely to follow suit after a period of
exposure to the new terminology.
Here are a few of the references in the state statutes that will need to be
purged of the term “accident”
CHAPTER 346 RULES OF THE ROAD
SUBCHAPTER XI ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS
346.66 Applicability of sections relating to accidents and accident reporting
346.67 Duty upon striking person or attended or occupied vehicle.
(1) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident shall reasonably
investigate what was struck and if the operator knows or has reason to know
that the accident resulted in injury or death of a person or in damage to a
vehicle . . .
346.675 Vehicle owner’s liability for failing to stop at the scene of an
346.69 Duty upon striking property on or adjacent to highway.
The operator of any vehicle involved in an accident . . . shall make report
of such accident when and as required in s. 346.70.
346.70 Duty to report accident; assistance following accident.
346.71 Coroners or medical examiners to report; require blood specimen.
(1) Every coroner or medical examiner shall, on or before the 10th day of each
month, report in writing any accident involving a motor vehicle . . .
346.72 Garages to keep record of repairs of accident damage
346.73 Accident reports not to be used in trial
Here is a link to the MV4002 form, Driver Report of an Accident
This WisDOT page does refer to Crashes
Annual Wisconsin Crash Facts archives
The following has appeared at the bottom of the first page of this report every
year since they made this change in the early 1980’s
Crashes, Not Accidents Traffic crashes are not accidents, but avoidable events
caused by a single variable or chain of variables. Dedicated to reducing
traffic injuries and fatalities by addressing the factors that cause them, the
Bureau of Transportation Safety coordinates a statewide behavioral highway
Arthur Ross, Pedestrian-Bicycle Coordinator
City of Madison Traffic Engineering Division
215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Suite 100
PO Box 2986
Madison, WI 53701-2986
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