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The Dangers of Distracted Walking

pedestrian accident

Distracted Walking Can Lead to a Pedestrian Accident

Distracted walking is by no means a new phenomenon, but it is commonly agreed that smartphones have exacerbated the problem. It is so common to see pedestrians walking with their eyes glued to their smartphone that most regard it as normal behavior. In fact, a majority of pedestrians are distracted to a greater or lesser degree these day. As the phenomenon has increased, so has the number of injuries and deaths resulting from it. Talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer to find out how to file a claim if you are injured.

The ubiquitous cellphone is the number one culprit

More than 78% of Americans have identified the cellphone as the number one culprit for distracted walking. And texting was identified as the number one cause of injuries and fatalities resulting from distracted walking. A research conducted at the Polytechnic Institute of New York found that 40% of cellphone users under observation stepped into a crosswalk when a vehicle was approaching.

According to National Safety Council (NHC), a nonprofit organization that works in the field of public safety, reported cases of cellphone-related distracted walking injuries in the United States increased from 500 in the year 2000 to more than 2,000 within a decade. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates that from 2014 to 2015, the number of pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents increased by 10%. Distracted walkers were responsible for many of these crashes.

Other causes of distracted walking include reading a book or newspaper, looking at billboards, looking at other people, window shopping, listening to music with the headphone glued to the ears, and being too engrossed in one’s thoughts. Regardless of the context, distracted walking is always dangerous.

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There is even a word for people who text while walking

The problem has become so widespread that the Urban Dictionary has even coined a word for people who are busy texting while walking and are completely oblivious to what’s happening around them. The word, as you may have guessed, is pedtextrian. While you may find it amusing, it actually has serious connotations. You can think of a pedtextrian as a person with a death wish, for that’s exactly what he/she will get if he/she is not careful, especially in an area with heavy motor vehicle traffic.

Common risks associated with distracted walking

Distracted walkers are a danger to themselves as well as to other people. Common risks associated with distracted walking include sprains, strains, cuts, bruises, fractures, broken bones, concussions, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Some of these injuries can lead to death – either on the spot or in the course of treatment.

A majority of these injuries (about 80%) are caused by falls. Distracted walking drastically increases the chances of tripping over obstacles, tumbling down stairs, and falling into ditches and manholes. Collision is another major cause of injuries. The probably of distracted walkers colliding with motor vehicles, other people, and stationary objects is very high. Collision with motor vehicles are often serious if not fatal.

Home is where most distracted walking injuries occur

Contrary to what you might believe, home is where most distracted walking injuries occur. According to the NHC, 52% of all cellphone distract walking injuries take place at home. It’s not hard to understand why. Homes are filled with obstacles, such as tables, chairs, sofas, doors and stairs.  Also, 68% of the injured were found to be women.

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How to avoid injuries when walking

The best way to avoid being hit by cars and colliding with other people and objects when walking is to put your cellphone in your pocket or handbag and concentrate on the road. If you must use your phone, then find a safe place to sit. If there is no place to sit, then stand unobtrusively at a safe distance from motor vehicles. Avoid looking at billboards and other distractions. When you are at home, avoid walking around with your eyes glued to your cell phone. Sit on a chair, sofa or bed when texting and talking. If you are injured in an accident, then phone a pedestrian accident lawyer without wasting any time.

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