Automotive

The world's most expensive auto accident - NOT!

The world's most expensive aut...
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In yet another example of internet mass media hysteria (reporters not checking facts and racing to get the story out quickly in the unholy pursuit of the holy dollar), a pile-up of 14 cars in Japan on Sunday morning has been universally labelled as the the world's most expensive automobile accident. Among the wreckage were eight Ferraris (including two F430s, two F355s, two 360 Modenas and an F512), a Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and a Mercedes CL600, and while there will certainly be a few very expensive repair bills, the crash doesn't even come close to being the world's most costly.

It's something we're seeing increasingly often at Gizmag. You see a story which has some elements which make it worth looking at, and when you begin assembling the information, hundreds of internet sites are reporting what are basically a handful of unchecked facts and erroneous assumptions.

Yes, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Mercedes cost a lot of money, but there were only 14 vehicles in total in the pile-up and no-one was killed or even seriously injured. Just three days prior to this 14-car accident, there was a far more serious pile-up in Tennessee which involved 176 vehicles, one death and 16-18 injuries.

Just a month ago, there was an even more tragic (and costly) pile-up on the M5 in Somerset. It involved 34 vehicles, seven fatalities and 51 injuries and while there may not have been as much expensive machinery involved, insurance companies will be paying out far more money than will occur in Japan.

Mass pile-ups of far greater magnitude are not that uncommon and you don't need to do much research to recognize that there have been many more expensive automobile accidents including a 60 vehicle accident in UAE in March 2008 during which 25 vehicles caught fire, three people died and 277 were injured.

The same Wikipedia entry lists 18 accidents in which more than 100 vehicles have been involved and there are almost certainly many more which are not listed.

Wikipedia also lists dozens of accidents where more than 14 people were killed (the same number of cars in this accident) and people are worth more than Ferraris.

Finally, to all those organizations (more than 500 such stories are listed on Google News) which immediately picked up on some headline writer's erroneous claim that this was the world's most expensive automobile accident and reported it as news ... bollocks! You should be ashamed of yourself.

19 comments
robinyatesuk2003
thanks for reinforcing my views on most journalists out there today. You guys can teach them real informative and accurate journalism. Thank you
Mark Petereit
What do FACTS have to do with this? Mass media is in the ENTERTAINMENT business -- not the NEWS business.
Kim Holder
Gizmag, i now come here first for tech news, and have abandoned several flashy tech websites, including FastCompany and Gizmodo, for the very reason mentioned. I value Gizmag\'s more in-depth, intelligent reporting, and especially the confidence i feel that what i read here is true. The other sites can keep their sassy wisecracks and 100 word articles. Most days, Gizmag is all i read re: new tech and light science. Which i read a lot. I\'m here almost every day. Yay, you!
Jon Roundy
There are other news sources then gizmag? ^^
greglo23
Its rare to see common sense on the internet these days. Well done Mike !!
VadimR
Mark, News media, in addition to entertainment, are also very involved in driving their political agenda (typically a very liberal one).
Facebook User
ok. Lets rephrase this. Worlds most expensive 14 car accident. Worlds costliest auto accident with the biggest number of super-expensive cars involved. thats more correct
bushman Jack
Is not the Journalists\' motto: \"Ne Bona Fabula Obstruatur Veritate\"
johnweythek
can we still call it the \"most expensive accident\" in a way that PER CAR involved, excluding injuries and deaths and insurance costs more than a usual 4 car pile-up. so most expensive pile-up per capita or something like that. thanks for throwing some water on the flames though, stuff can get out of hand to the point where a nothing event becomes news.
Jason Jones
It\'s ironic that you reprimand the lemming-like \"journalists\", but then go on to quote Wikipedia, which is often criticized by academia as being unreliable. Don\'t get me wrong, many of the hacks writing news today simply spew the dribble du jour, and, in fact, I personally rely on Wikipedia for what I would consider to be facts, but if we\'re talking about irrefutable data, Wikipedia is not necessarily your most reliable resource. I\'m just sayin\'...