March 19, 2022

Jessie Singer on Why There Are No Accidents

Jessie Singer on Why There Are No Accidents

Why might an innocuous-sounding word we all use, result in a social injustice? The answer is: when that word is ‘accident’. It’s something we hear all the time. “Sorry, it was just an accident” or “there’s been a traffic accident’.

But have you...


Why might an innocuous-sounding word we all use, result in a social injustice? The answer is: when that word is ‘accident’. It’s something we hear all the time. “Sorry, it was just an accident” or “there’s been a traffic accident’.

But have you ever stopped to think about the impact the word has? I hadn’t until I read the book by my guest journalist Jessie Singer. In ‘There Are No Accidents’, she explains that the vast majority of mishaps are not random but predictable and preventable. What’s more, the term “accident” also changes how we look at things that go wrong. Perhaps surprisingly, the word protects those in power and leaves the most vulnerable in harm’s way, preventing investigations, pushing off debts, blaming the victims, diluting anger, and even sparking empathy for the perpetrators.


During our discussion, Jessie explains how the death of a close friend prompted her to write the book and what she’s learned from studying a wide range of accidents and why we need to think differently about accidents if we want to save lives and build a more just society.

To find out more about Jessie’s book There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster — Who Profits and Who Pays the Price visit https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/There-Are-No-Accidents/Jessie-Singer/9781982129668

To find out more about Jessie, visit her website - http://jessiesinger.com/

During our discussion, we talk about:

The concepts of Jay Driving — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-driver and the more common Jay Walking https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaywalking

Hugh Dehaven, the pilot who pioneered crash injury research - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_DeHaven

The Grenfell Tower Fire — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Tower_fire

Grenfell was also covered in an episode of this show, in a two-part discussion with Gill Kernick. Find part one here: 👉 https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/gill-kernick-on-the-grenfell-tower-disaster-part-one/

Grenfell also features on this show, in a two-part discussion with Gill Kernick. Part One here: https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/gill-kernick-on-the-grenfell-tower-disaster-part-one/

The Electric Hummer - https://www.roadandtrack.com/news/a39270970/hummer-ev-proves-were-making-all-the-same-mistakes-again/