The AP has finally weighed in on the crash vs. accident debate.
In a new entry emailed to their subscribers, the AP Style Guide came down on the side of using crash when negligence may be a factor.
Here’s the new entry:
Generally acceptable for automobile and other collisions and wrecks. However, when negligence is claimed or proven, avoid accident, which can be read by some as a term exonerating the person responsible. In such cases, use crash, collision or other terms. See collide, collision. (new entry)
The AP Style Guide is like the bible for many news organization when it comes to, grammar, spelling and writing style in news stories.
The entry still leaves some ambiguity when it comes to negligence.
I would argue someone must always be negligent when there is any type of collision between two vehicles.
However, this is an improvement and gives journalists guidance in how to handle writing about crashes.