Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Media language

A motorist was killed and two others were critically injured after they were mown down as they got out of their cars to help each other at a crash scene.

This may have been a case where a driver lost control on ice, though more probably it is a case of excessive speed. It triggered consequences which almost certainly result from drivers going too fast for the road conditions and ignoring the reality that even on a motorway you should only drive at a speed which allows you to brake in time if there is danger ahead.

What interests me is that whereas a cyclist hit from behind by a reckless driver will almost always be described as having been “in collision with a car” in “an accident”, these drivers are described as having been “mown down”. That emotive but no doubt accurate language is almost never used about pedestrians or cyclists hit by drivers.