WHO: Injuries and violence are causing 1 in 12 deaths (5)

2 December, 2022

Thanks for bringing back into the discussion the question of whether or not it is correct to use the word "accident" in relation to road traffic injuries. As Dr Bonilla-Escobar notes, the BMJ published an article trying to do this in June 2001 ("BMJ bans 'accidents': Accidents are not unpredictable" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1120417).

Unfortunately the ban was a complete failure in the BMJ (82 papers published since January 2002 using the word "accident" in title or abstract, often in papers related to road traffic injuries), and the wider world - at least in the UK, where car crash victims go straight to A&E (Accidents & Emergencies). It will be a while before "A&E" loses the "A". This is often the fate of attempts to change stubborn popular usage.

Having said that, it is clear that WHO has been listening, since it appears to stick strictly to "road traffic crashes" and "road traffic injuries" in its publications on "road traffic safety".



Chris Zielinski


Blogs: http://ziggytheblue.wordpress.com and http://ziggytheblue.tumblr.com

Research publications: http://www.researchgate.net

HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Global Health, University of Winchester, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme, which supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. He is the elected Vice President (and President-in-Waiting) of the World Association of Medical Editors. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. He served on WHO's Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. He also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. Chris has been a director of the UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). chris AT chriszielinski.com. His publications are at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Chris-Zielinski and https://winchester.academia.edu/ChrisZielinski/ and his blogs are http://ziggytheblue.wordrpress.com and https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ziggytheblue