Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Not an Accident

It's not an accident when a person driving a pickup kills a person crossing the street.

To the Editor of the Seattle Times:
Yesterday I participated in the candlelight vigil for Sandhya Khadka, who was killed when a person driving a pickup truck struck her as she crossed the street in an unmarked crosswalk.
Your story in today's paper incorrectly states that "there is no crosswalk at the intersection."  In fact, by law every intersection without a traffic signal is an unmarked crosswalk, and people driving cars or trucks are required to stop for people who walk across the street.

When you refer to this tragic incident as an "accident," you imply that nothing could have been done to prevent it.  The Seattle Police call it a "collision."  That is a more neutral term.

Your report states that she was "hit by a pickup" and does not mention that there was a person driving that pickup until several paragraphs later, when you state that the person driving was not impaired.

The language you use to report on a tragedy shapes the discussion about how the tragedy could be prevented.  I participated in the vigil to support Sandhya's grieving family, and to call on our community to work together to make our shared public streets safe for all the people who use them.

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