Most people learn the rules of safely walking in the city as children, but evidence shows that residents of Missouri and across the country have largely forgotten safe pedestrian habits. It’s understood that texting and other uses of electronics are dangerous activities while driving, and mobile devices are increasingly shown to be dangerous when walking as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that electronic devices were likely involved in 4,280 pedestrian deaths in 2010, which represented a four percent increase over 2009 fatalities.
A study in Injury Prevention outlined how texting and other use of mobile devices statistically increases the risk of a pedestrian accident. Researchers watched busy intersections to observe walking habits and the length of time necessary for a walker to cross in front of traffic. They found that distracted pedestrians took 1.3 seconds longer than attentive ones. For those sending and receiving text messages, the average increase in length rose to two seconds.
A survey performed by Liberty Mutual Insurance asked respondents about the risk of walking while texting and their walking habits. The survey found that 70 percent of respondents considered electronic devices to be a dangerous distraction for pedestrians. Despite the acknowledgment, 60 percent claimed to engage in the behavior.
Just as an attentive driver can help avoid auto accidents, Missouri walkers can reduce the risk of a pedestrian accident by paying close attention to their surroundings. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, serious injuries and death are all too common. A pedestrian accident may also cause grief for the driver and result in criminal charges and civil claims. If distracted walking or driving is suspected, victims may be able to recover compensation for their pain and suffering with an experienced attorney’s assistance.
Source: Consumer Affairs, “Distracted walking problem getting worse,” Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013