Here are a few problems that resulted from her research:
#1 Journalists absolve drivers. In 81% of the cases reviewed, it was the car – not the driver – that inflicted the blow and hit the pedestrian or bicyclists.
#2 Focus was on the victim’s action. The behavior of the victim, not the driver was typically the focus of the article. For example, one of the bicyclists was hit by a vehicle – instead of a vehicle hit the bicyclist.
#3 Victim blaming – offering counterfactuals. Counterfactuals or victim blaming was present in the articles. For example, the victim was wearing dark clothes when hit.
#4 Treating the incident as isolated rather than systemic. Few articles connect the incident to wider relevant issues such as road design or other crashes in the area.
#5 Experts are not consulted. None of the articles included comments from planners, engineers or road safety experts who would be able to assist with connecting to a possible wider concern like unsafe road design.
#6 Use the term ”accident.” Crash is the preferred term according to the Associated Press, however journalists still use the term accident obscuring the preventable nature of the collision.
Thank you, Professor Kelcie Ralph for your contribution to this blog!