Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Distracted Walking” Seen as Factor in Pedestrian Accidents in the U.S.

Chatting or texting on your cell phone is considered a driving distraction by many traffic safety agencies, particularly the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As it is, doing so while driving a vehicle may increase your chances of getting involved in a road mishap, be it a collision with another vehicle or hitting an unsuspecting pedestrian.

While distracted driving remains to be a key concern in the never-ending issue of road safety in the United States, the level of distress is also similar with that of pedestrians. What this means is that not only are motorists operating vehicles on the road are prone to certain distractions; pedestrians, too, have been found to be getting distracted while walking.

Deriving the definition of distracted driving from, “distracted walking” is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of walking. Like its counterpart, it involves walking while texting, talking on the phone, listening to music with the use of headphones, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to the NHTSA, a total of 4,432 pedestrians died and approximately 69,000 more were injured in 2011. The number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes that year was a 3-percent increase from the previous year (4,302, 2010). One factor as to the increase in pedestrian accidents is the fact that even they are getting distracted due to the use of gadgets such as cell phones.

In fact, a recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report revealed that about 1,500 pedestrians received treatment in emergency rooms in 2011 after suffering from injuries while using a portable electronic device. As it is, pedestrians become less tuned into the world around them when they use their mobile phones while walking, or when they listen to music while walking.

Meanwhile, expert litigators, including a Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer, have been advising pedestrians to be careful when walking on sidewalks or on crosswalks. According to them, making eye contact with the driver, as well as making the necessary timing to cross the street at a crosswalk, would be the least pedestrians can do to become a safe pedestrian.

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