Is it an "accident", though?

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JustPlainLucas

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#1 JustPlainLucas
Member since 2002 • 79941 Posts

So today, I had to make an emergency trip home because my parents locks themselves out of the house. On the way home, I was going down my street about to pass a two-way stop intersection (the crossing street has the stop signs), this white car comes barreling down in front of me. Didn't slow down or anything, just flew through the stop sign. If I was only a second closer to the intersection, he would have t-boned me, probably with enough force to flip my car over.

Then I wondered, if that did actually happen, would I really be able to call it an "accident?" He made a clear choice to ignore the stop sign, but let's say he didn't notice it. He made a clear choice to not pay attention to his surroundings, while also making a clear choice speeding. What's accidental about this? He may not have made the choice to get into an accident, but he made choices that would have directly caused one.

Same goes with drunk driving. Any person who drives drunk and causes a wreck, it's certainly not an "accident". You made choice to drink. You made a choice to drink too much and get too impaired to have the awareness to not drive home. Your choice to make a bad choice led to an "accident" happening.

An accident to me is someone's tire blowing out or someone having a sudden migraine attack or someone's engine breaking down, or a traffic light going green on all sides, something entirely out of the operator's control. What are your thoughts?

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br0kenrabbit

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#2 br0kenrabbit
Member since 2004 • 16377 Posts

I have the same issue with the word 'mistake'. A mistake is something you didn't mean to do. Robbing a store at gunpoint isn't a mistake, it's a criminal act.

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mrbojangles25

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#3  Edited By mrbojangles25
Member since 2005 • 46039 Posts

Just going to put this here

Loading Video...
@br0kenrabbit said:

I have the same issue with the word 'mistake'. A mistake is something you didn't mean to do. Robbing a store at gunpoint isn't a mistake, it's a criminal act.

I think you're maybe thinking of it in technical terms when it really isn't.

A "mistake" could be thought of as an error in judgement. Just because something is done intentionally doesn't mean it can't be a mistake.

Starting a fight with someone twice your size is a mistake, for example. Betting your winnings after just winning something that pays out 10:1 is a mistake when you should just walk away with what you had.

@JustPlainLucas I think the basest form of "accident" is to simply do something unintentionally. Yeah, the person would have been liable because they caused the accident and could have prevented it, but it doesn't mean it can't be an accident.

I understand where you are coming from, I just don't think of it in black or white terms like that. This is why they have various forms of punishment, i.e. various degrees of manslaughter and so on.

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JustPlainLucas

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#4 JustPlainLucas
Member since 2002 • 79941 Posts

@br0kenrabbit said:

I have the same issue with the word 'mistake'. A mistake is something you didn't mean to do. Robbing a store at gunpoint isn't a mistake, it's a criminal act.

Yeah, that gets me as well. The old "I made a mistake!" when you cheated on someone is rich. I love what Eminem said in Guilty Conscience. "What, she tripped, fell, and landed on his dick?"

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#5 JustPlainLucas
Member since 2002 • 79941 Posts

@mrbojangles25 said:

Just going to put this here

Loading Video...

Fantastic!

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MirkoS77

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#6  Edited By MirkoS77
Member since 2011 • 14975 Posts

That’s difficult to determine when you don’t know what the other person was doing. I’ve driven through stop signs before. That a person isn’t paying attention or is a bit careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t accidental. I could be walking down the street and miss a pothole that I stepped into because I was preoccupied. It’s an accident.

A mistake is different in that I’d consider it an err in judgement when all the facts are there to make an informed decision, and a poor choice was made regardless.

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JustPlainLucas

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#7 JustPlainLucas
Member since 2002 • 79941 Posts

@MirkoS77 said:

That’s difficult to determine when you don’t know what the other person was doing. I’ve driven through stop signs before. That a person isn’t paying attention or is a bit careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t accidental. I could be walking down the street and miss a pothole that I stepped into because I was preoccupied. It’s an accident.

A mistake is different in that I’d consider it an err in judgement when all the facts are there to make an informed decision, and a poor choice was made regardless.

This wasn't just running through a stop sign. He barreled through it. If anything, he knew he was speeding, so that was a choice right there.

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#8  Edited By MirkoS77
Member since 2011 • 14975 Posts

@JustPlainLucas said:
@MirkoS77 said:

That’s difficult to determine when you don’t know what the other person was doing. I’ve driven through stop signs before. That a person isn’t paying attention or is a bit careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t accidental. I could be walking down the street and miss a pothole that I stepped into because I was preoccupied. It’s an accident.

A mistake is different in that I’d consider it an err in judgement when all the facts are there to make an informed decision, and a poor choice was made regardless.

This wasn't just running through a stop sign. He barreled through it. If anything, he knew he was speeding, so that was a choice right there.

Sure, but I don't see how a choice somehow negates an accident. People get into accidents every single day while speeding, that they made that choice doesn't mean it wasn't accidental. It's a contributing factor to it. He probably fully well knew he was over the limit, but maybe by the time he reached the stop sign he was through it and for all you know gave a "Holy Shit!" after seeing you and thanked his lucky stars you were being vigilant.

I don't know, perhaps I can relate to him because god knows I've run through my share of stop signs in all my years at speed yet was lucky enough never to hit anyone. Never as fast as this guy sounds like he was going, but still. Some stop signs are nigh invisible until you're right on top of them.

If you hadn't been rightly vigilant and he had hit you, what would you be calling this? Attempted homicide? Manslaugter? It sounds like perhaps you're a bit reaching to attribute this to mal-intent.

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#9 Byshop  Moderator
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@JustPlainLucas said:
@MirkoS77 said:

That’s difficult to determine when you don’t know what the other person was doing. I’ve driven through stop signs before. That a person isn’t paying attention or is a bit careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t accidental. I could be walking down the street and miss a pothole that I stepped into because I was preoccupied. It’s an accident.

A mistake is different in that I’d consider it an err in judgement when all the facts are there to make an informed decision, and a poor choice was made regardless.

This wasn't just running through a stop sign. He barreled through it. If anything, he knew he was speeding, so that was a choice right there.

It's an accident in as much as crashing was not the driver's intent. If the driver's actions cause the accident it's still an accident, but the accident is then that person's fault.

Below is an example of something that is not an accident.

Loading Video...

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JustPlainLucas

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#10 JustPlainLucas
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@Byshop said:
@JustPlainLucas said:
@MirkoS77 said:

That’s difficult to determine when you don’t know what the other person was doing. I’ve driven through stop signs before. That a person isn’t paying attention or is a bit careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t accidental. I could be walking down the street and miss a pothole that I stepped into because I was preoccupied. It’s an accident.

A mistake is different in that I’d consider it an err in judgement when all the facts are there to make an informed decision, and a poor choice was made regardless.

This wasn't just running through a stop sign. He barreled through it. If anything, he knew he was speeding, so that was a choice right there.

It's an accident in as much as crashing was not the driver's intent. If the driver's actions cause the accident it's still an accident, but the accident is then that person's fault.

Below is an example of something that is not an accident.

Loading Video...

That crosses over into aggravated assault. But yeah, I like what mrbojangles posted with the Hot Fuzz clip. If someone causes an accident because of poor choices, it should just be called a collision, because accident implies no one's to blame.

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#11  Edited By MirkoS77
Member since 2011 • 14975 Posts

@JustPlainLucas: an accident says nothing on blame, it says it was unintentional. Someone can still be to blame while it being an accident. I don't quite see how you're equating poor choices with motivation. People who make poor choices don't want to get into trouble, they simply don't consider the actions they are being irresponsible in as a contributing factor to it or much care. Apathy/irresponsibility isn't a motivation.

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#12  Edited By the_bi99man
Member since 2004 • 11377 Posts

I run stop signs all the time. Like, literally 80% or more of the times I pass a stop sign, I'm not stopping. Thing is, I'm paying attention. That's why I've never hit anybody or anything while running a stop sign, and never even been remotely close to it. Traffic laws are for people who don't pay attention to traffic, so that they can just do what the signs tell them and assume they'll be fine. The problem is when you have guys like who you described in the OP. People who think they can ignore traffic laws like a smart and attentive person, when they're not smart or attentive.

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#13 Byshop  Moderator
Member since 2002 • 19734 Posts

@MirkoS77 said:

@JustPlainLucas: an accident says nothing on blame, it says it was unintentional. Someone can still be to blame while it being an accident. I don't quite see how you're equating poor choices with motivation. People who make poor choices don't want to get into trouble, they simply don't consider the actions they are being irresponsible in as a contributing factor to it or much care. Apathy/irresponsibility isn't a motivation.

Exactly. Even in the Hot Fuzz clip they say accident "implies" a lack of blame so it can give a mistaken impression, but that doesn't mean that calling it an accident actually means it's nobody's fault. All accident literally means is "not on purpose", usually with a negative connotation.

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#14 lamprey263
Member since 2006 • 36554 Posts

Had a similar situation not too long back, sure some drivers are bad, I think though the online retail and service culture might be behind many of these bad drivers I have seen last couple years, like Uber drivers and Uber eats and Instacart type and Amazon contractors and similar types of services sending their people into unfamiliar areas and being pressed on time