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Keywords:

  • motor vehicle accident;
  • motor vehicle crash;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • victim;
  • victim advocacy

Abstract

We assert that motor vehicle erash should replace motor vehicle accident in the clinical and research lexicon of traumatologists. Crash encompasses a wider range of potential causes for vehicular crashes than does the term accident. A majority of fatal crashes are caused by intoxicated, speeding, distracted, or careless drivers and, therefore, are not accidents. Most importantly, characterizing crashes as accidents, when a driver was intoxicated or negligent, may impede the recovery of crash victims by preventing them from assigning blame and working through the emotions related to their trauma.