Washington, DC pedestrians may want to spend less time texting and more time watching the road. According to a new study by Liberty Mutual Insurance, 60 percent of pedestrians admitted to using their phones or listening to music while walking. Over 70 percent of the distracted pedestrians admitted to doing so even though they considered the activities dangerous.
A spokesman for Liberty Mutual said that so much attention has been paid to distracted driving that the dangers of distracted walking and distracted crossing have been ignored. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there were 4,280 pedestrian deaths in auto pedestrian accidents in 2010, an increase of four percent. Liberty Mutual said that some of those deaths may be attributable to distracted walking.
An observational study in 2012 confirmed the prevalence of distracted walking. In that study, nearly one in three pedestrians were found to be distracted by their phone while crossing a busy intersection. In addition to being distracted, those pedestrians also took on average 1.3 seconds longer to cross the street. Pedestrians who were texting were judged to be the most distracted. They took an average of two seconds longer to cross a typical four-lane intersection.
Distracted pedestrians may be putting themselves at greater risk of being injured, or even killed, in an accident. Pedestrians can protect themselves by avoiding texting and other distractions while crossing intersections. In the event of an accident, an injured pedestrian may be able to pursue damages to cover expenses arising from the accident, such as medical bills, time off work and rehabilitation. An attorney with pedestrian accident experience could help an injured individual pursue compensation and negotiate any possible settlement to maximize damages.
Source: Consumer Affairs, “Distracted walking problem getting worse,” Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013