The number of distracted pedestrians killed in car accidents has increased four-fold over the past seven years, and evidence suggests many of these deaths were avoidable. Dallas residents already know that texting and driving increases the risk of an auto accident, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data show that texting and walking is a factor in auto-pedestrian accidents. The 2010 total of pedestrians killed in auto accidents increased four percent from 2009’s figures at 4,280 fatalities.
A Liberty Mutual Insurance survey shows that there is no easy answer to this problem. The results uncovered a cavalier attitude amongst most Americans: 70 percent of respondents were aware that walking while distracted by an electronic device was dangerous, yet 60 percent of respondents still reported engaging in the risky behavior. The company’s managing director of global safety sees this disconnect between knowledge and behavior as indicative of a widespread “it won’t happen to me” attitude.
Proof of the increased risk was on display in a study published in Injury Prevention, which categorized pedestrians crossing busy intersections with an average of three to four lanes. Distracted pedestrians took more time to cross the intersection than others. Those who were texting took the longest, at two seconds more on average compared to the controls, who were not distracted by electronic devices.
An auto accident involving pedestrians increases the risk for serious injuries and fatalities dramatically. Efforts to reduce the risk of occurrence are made difficult with the understanding that pedestrian safety education is not the primary issue. For those who are injured or undergo pain and suffering as a result of another person’s negligence in an auto-pedestrian accident, an attorney may be able to help in the recovery of compensation for emotional, physical and financial trauma.
Source: Consumer Affairs, “Distracted walking problem getting worse,” Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013