Distracted Pedestrians

Drivers in Florida have probably heard or read some of the information out there concerning distracted driving. Texting while driving and phoning while driving are growing problems in Florida and throughout the United States. States and municipalities are passing laws against such practices because of the many injuries and fatalities associated with them.

A related problem that is also on the rise and receiving less media attention is distracted walking. Emergency room staff treated 1,152 people in the United States for injuries resulting from distracted walking in 2011. Pedestrians sometimes use their cell phones or send text messages while crossing an intersection. This can result in crosswalk accidents if pedestrians enter crosswalks without having the right of way or when stepping in front of distracted drivers. Injury Prevention magazine observed pedestrians for a 2012 study and learned that one-third of pedestrians are distracted while walking. The most prevalent distraction is texting, although cell phones, reading emails and listening to music also distract people walking through traffic.

Liberty Mutual Insurance surveyed drivers and pedestrians about their behavior and their attitudes about their behavior. They learned that three out of every five people who walk in traffic say they talk or text while walking. Seven out of ten people think it is wrong to do so. Pedestrians who text or talk while walking get hit by motor vehicles because they forget the basic safety rules they learned as children, such as remembering to look both ways before crossing a street. They also take longer to cross a busy intersection than non-distracted drivers, increasing their risk of being hit.

It is important for anyone who has been involved in an auto-pedestrian accident to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can advise on such issues as liability and fault and help with obtaining appropriate compensation.

Source: Consumer Affairs, “Survey: Distracted walking problem getting worse”, Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013

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