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Road safety is no accident.

Jiggins, S

Road Safety Programs

2008

The Australian news media typically portrays road crashes as “accidents” involving human tragedy. The pattern is all too familiar: scenes of mangled wreckage, an ambulance leaving the scene, an interview with emergency service personnel who describe the crash as “the worst they have seen”.

We might ask “What’s the take-out message from this sort of coverage?” An accident, by definition, is an unpredictable event beyond the control of the individual – according to the dictionary “an incident that happens by chance or without apparent cause”. Overseas researchers argue that describing crashes as “accidents” fails to convey important safety information and potentially builds barriers which may block or inhibit the adoption of road safety countermeasures.