Today, I wanted to start with a word that I hear all the time – accident. “I’m so sorry to hear about your ACCIDENT.”, “How are you doing since the ACCIDENT.”, “Grace died in an ACCIDENT” (by the way she was killed. she was a perfectly healthy 11 year old girl who had never spent a day in the hospital – not even the day she was born- I will tell that story on a day that everyone needs a good laugh).
A few months after the CRASH (that would be the correct wording), I was so angry one day that I decided to look up the definition of accident in one of the online dictionaries. I wish that I had written down which one and I’m sure that many people will be able to find many contradictory definitions to mine as well as some similar ones but I liked this one so I wrote it down and read it every day until I could recite it ( about a year – the crash left me with scrambled eggs for memory).
Accident – An event that occurs due to unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances.
The way I see it as soon as you introduce a Drunk Driver, it can no longer be referred to as an accident. Alcohol slows down reaction time, generally increases speed and greatly affects reaction time. There have been so many studies on this. If you can’t read, there’s even an episode on MythBusters about it where they show how bad it affects a driver. Therefore, the outcome is not unforeseen.
As of yet, I haven’t heard of one Drunk Driver that was held down, forced to ingest copious amounts of alcohol and then tied to the steering wheel with a brick on the gas pedal and made to drive home at gun point. Therefore, I’m pretty sure uncontrollable circumstances can be ruled out.
Therefore, it is never an accident when a Drunk Driver is involved. First Responders, the medical community, police, even the insurance industry (yes, I am giving them kudos for this. Not much else mind you, but even THEY have figured this much out) all you the term MVC , standing for Motor Vehicle Collision or Motor Vehicle Crash. As of yet, the only ones that I have crossed paths with that insist of using the term ACCIDENT, are Crown Attorneys, Defence Attorneys and Judges.
The average public doesn’t know, so I correct them. Maybe that is the advantage of a major brain trauma. I really don’t care if they’re offended by my correction. I’m not impolite. I explain to them why it is so important. I also usually drop in a couple of sad facts about Drinking and Driving in Canada and also the name of their MP and MPP before the conversation is over.
Canadians want this to change. They need this to change. They just don’t understand the scope of the problem. Again, send me shoes so that I can put a visual to the problem. If I have my way, our politicians will have to wade through the shoes of the victims to get to their offices.
So remember the definition of ACCIDENT. If you are tired of repeating yourself, get it printed on a t-shirt. Or write it on a pair of shoes. But do not let them change the English language to whitewash this crime.