An Accident or a Preventable Crash?

A crash is not always an “accident.” Here is someone with whom I can agree. Susan Baker, Johns Hopkins’ Injury Prevention Expert, says:

I learned I don’t like the word “accident.” [Former head of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] Bill Haddon, a mentor who was a huge influence in my professional life, was the first person to make a big deal over use of the word “accident.” It suggests something not preventable when perhaps it is something that can be explained and prevented.

 Usually, when an injury occurs, responsibility can lie with a designer, planner, inventor, lawmaker … someone whose decision caused something to happen one way or another. I looked at the chain of events that led to the injury and how you could interrupt that chain. I looked for the weakest link and saw what you could do about that.


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