Friday, December 18, 2015

Aaron Bialick: "Changing our language will help keep us safer"

As reported several months ago, Aaron Bialick is now on board the MTA gravy train. Based on this (No "Accident": Why Language Matters in Making Our Streets Safer), I bet his new job is a lot easier and he makes more money.

Bialick is still a Big Thinker:

The words we use can have a powerful influence on the way we view traffic injuries, and calling them "accidents" implies that nothing can be done to stop them. As part of our commitment to Vision Zero — an end to traffic fatalities by 2024 — we're ensuring that our language reflects our core belief that no traffic fatality is inevitable or acceptable.

No, the word "accident" only means that a mishap was unintentional, not that it was "inevitable or acceptable." No matter how many "improvements"---that's the word the MTA uses for whatever it does to our streets---Bialick's employer makes to city streets, accidents, injuries, and fatalities will still happen, even here in Progressive Land.

But let's still pretend that San Francisco---or any big city in the country---can put an end to fatal traffic accidents by repeating the Vision Zero slogan (even less plausible than the "20% by 2020" slogan. See also this):

By making this small change in our everyday vocabulary, we can all help spark a change in the way we talk and think about traffic crashes. It's an important piece of the puzzle in building support for Vision Zero: a city where traffic injuries are truly unacceptable. Changing our behavior as well as our language will also help keep us safer. Slow down and keep your eyes up when on the street to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

Yes, and rotate your tires and don't forget to floss every day.

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