The two groups behind the recent campaign — Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets — argue that the term “accident” makes it seem like crashes are inevitable, rather than preventable. In a subtle way, it normalizes the crash and discourages us from looking more deeply into their causes — whether alcohol, reckless driving, or bad street design.

In a sense, reflexively saying “accident” is implicitly throwing up our hands in despair, rather than trying to fix the underlying problem. As Alissa Walker puts it in a excellent Gizmodo post on the campaign, “accident is the transportation equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .”