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Pedestrian killed in crash with tractor trailer in Cambridge

A woman in her 20s was pronounced dead on the scene at Magazine Street and Putnam Avenue after a crash involving a tractor trailer around 7 p.m., Cambridge Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's office reports. The driver of the truck remained on scene, police say.

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Why are traffic deaths written in a passive way ("Pedestrian killed in crash with tractor trailer" instead of "Driver of tractor trailer hits and kills pedestrian", or at least "Pedestrian hit and killed". When someone is shot, accidentally or not, newspapers don't report it as "Person killed in collision with bullet" or "Local resident hits and kills resident". Im not blaming this site, this is not a Uhub issue, its an American thing.

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At the point at which the DA (in this case) issues a press release, the cause of the crash might not yet be known. Your proposed wording implies a guilt that the driver may not deserve, at least until the facts are in.

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Adam, this is incorrect.

Women run over by truck doesn't imply guilt, it states a fact.

Theres a brand new report that goes into the language media uses in talking about fatalities, and how it affects the way the readers understand the situation. I think youll find it interesting.

https://www.nctr.usf.edu/2018/02/media-framing-of-fatal-bicycle-crashes-...

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At the time I wrote this up, here's what I knew (and my apologies in advance to anybody who thinks I'm being crass or disrespectful to the woman, but I'm not, I'm just trying to explain how I wrote a headline).

  • A woman is dead.
  • The incident involved a truck (and as you can see, there was some disagreement about what sort of truck).
  • It happened at a particular intersection in Cambridge at a particular time.

I didn't know then (and still don't, but I haven't been following this because of all the murders in Boston) how the woman died. Was she run over by the truck? Did she slip and fall under it? Did some other series of events happen?

I'm not going to write a person was run over by a truck when I don't know that that's what happened (even if that is a likely explanation). Journalism is like that sometimes - I've made enough mistakes with assumptions in headlines to try to avoid them. So, yes, I went with a somewhat vague headline, enough to tell that a poor woman is dead, which is basically all I knew for a fact at the time.

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Im struggling to think of a scenario where a a truck and pedestrian meet, a death results, and the death is caused by something other than "hit by truck"

It looks like you're struggling too, because even under your "slip and fall" scenario, the truck is the one causing the death.

Its like the "officer involved shooting" bullshit.

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I share your frustration J, and your conclusion is certainly the most likely one, but...

* Person trips, hits head on truck
* Truck spills something, kills person
* Person inhales something emitting from truck, dies

Those are remarkably unlikely, perhaps even unheard of. If it was the story, you'd be a bit amazed. But if the story was corroborated by evidence and eyewitness, you wouldn't look for black helicopters.

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I can't find any article that describes how exactly it happened. At least Adam didn't say "accident" like the crimson.

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Accidents like this (assuming it was an accident) are reported exactly the same way around the world.

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Not true:
Woman, 21, dead after being hit by car in London
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-45179965

Woman, 21, dies after being struck by car in south-west London
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/woman-21-dies-after-being-struck-by-c...

Also "accident" makes it seem like these things just happen, nothing we can do about it. If drivers paid attention, didnt use their phones, didn't drink (at all) & drive, didn't speed, came to full stops at stop signs, didn't have music playing in their car, etc. there were be much less carnage. But while the whole country freaks out when 1 person is killed by a shark and people demand changes, 6,000 pedestrians were killed by drivers in 2017, a 25 year high.
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/28/589453431/pedestrian-...

If drivers were held responsible, this number would drop dramatically.

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You can cherry pick any headlines to make your point, whatever it is. The fact remains it was an accident. When someone uses a gun to hurt someone else, it's not an accident. See the difference?

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Call them crashes.

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Those headlines are just like Adam’s headline.

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Same semantics as "gun violence" or "knife violence or "epidemics of violence" because conflating evil people, mental illness, and criminal subcultures with inanimate objects or communicable diseases is easier than dealing with the real problem of messed up people.

Pedestrians and cyclists getting killed is the fault of shitty people not metal boxes with wheels. But that's harder to acknowledge.

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What's wrong with this picture?

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Was it a tractor trailer? One of the news stations last night was reporting it was a dump truck.

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dump trucks can be just about as bad and wreak just about as much havoc and damage as a tractor trailer.

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...given the amount of construction that goes on, good luck keeping them off the streets at any hour.

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If the accident happened while the truck was turning between these two streets, guaranteed part of the truck went up on the sidewalk. There’s no way a full size tractor trailer could make this turn with the size of those two streets, and trucks that big shouldn’t be allowed to make this turn.

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How do you expect the Whole Foods, TJs and all the rest get their deliveries then? Several smaller trucks? You realize that that'll probably increase the chances of pedestrian accidents, right?

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Don’t necessarily mean more trips to a given store, as those monster trucks go from store to store to store to store....
That organic soy milk has a shelf life you know

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Not big supermarkets. The TJ in Coolidge Corner takes a full trailer every night as far as I could tell. The whole foods is bigger if memory serves.

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Yes. Smaller trucks and vans. The way they have been doing it over in Europe with their tiny narrow streets, and guess what, they probably don't have such a big problem with pedestrian fatalities.

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You can get deliveries to Whole foods and TJs without having to make crazy tight turns like you would have to do in that mostly residential area. They can certainly use small straight trucks to deliver to the small shops around there. But, drivers of semi trucks can get led awry by trying to follow map device directions which ain't intended for their use. And every new driver has to make their route that first time without being familiar with it.

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So, no trucks on it unless delivering on Putnam (Whole Foods?). Memorial Drive is also truck restricted. Less likely the truck was turning and more likely it was delivering to Trader Joe's Because Mem drive can't be used.

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according to witnesses. So, it's possible the pedestrian was deaf or the reversing warning alarm not loud enough.

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