Welcome to ITMA Nowadays

There is much change to report in this, my first in a continuing series of letters from the president. The most immediate change is that our organization has a new name and logo.

It was an enormous honor to be elected, in May 2000, to be president of so prestigious an organization as the International Association for Accident and Traffic Medicine (IAATM). Since its founding in 1960, the IAATM has been active in making enormous contributions to the field of traffic medicine. I would certainly oppose renaming any organization with so long and illustrious a history of achievement unless there were compelling reasons to do so.

In the over 40 years since it was founded, IAATM has been a major contributor to the innumerable ways in which traffic medicine has advanced. The very vocabulary of the subject has benefited from thoughtful writing and quality discussion, and sometimes vigorous debate. Compelling reasons have emerged to avoid using the word “accident” in technical discussions of safety. These are put forth in a number of sources, including my own invited editorial in the British Medical Journal (1993), editorial in Journal of Traffic Medicine, and on page 8 of my book Traffic Safety and the Driver.

The following six factors contributed to the acceptance of our new name, the International Traffic Medicine Association (ITMA).

  1. The new name avoids inclusion of the undesirable term accident.
  2. Brevity – the new name is 4 words, the old is 7.
  3. The new name, and shorter acronym, is easier to remember.
  4. The new acronym has a simple pronunciation “IT-MA”.
  5. The shorter name links more harmoniously with our already well established, and soon to be even better established, Journal Of Traffic Medicine.
  6. Reduces risk of confusion with another safety organization, the AAAM.

The new name and logo was strongly supported by the Executive Council, the governing body of ITMA which includes the eight regional vice-presidents, the former and current president, the executive director, and the JTM editor. The matter was voted upon by a list (created in connection with the 17th Annual Congress in Stockholm) of 170 “members”. The votes (by email) were:

In favor of the new name and logo: 52
Opposed: 2

The new name does not represent any material change in subject emphasis compared to the old (arguably, injuries from such sources as falling down stairs were included under the old name, but not under the new).

We are in the midst of revolutionizing the way we operate as an organization. ITMA will increasingly rely on email and website as its primary methods of communication. We will continue our tradition of outstanding international scientific meetings. I look forward to working with you in pursuit of the primary goal of ITMA, which may be most succinctly stated as “to reduce human harm from traffic crashes”.

Leonard Evans
Past President, ITMA

Rev. 27 Jan 2003