Distracted driving is certainly dangerous, but what about distracted walking?

Post #1 image. 2012-06-04.jpgWe often hear about the dangers of distracted driving and how risky that can be for everyone on the roadways. But what about distracted walking? According a recently article in the online journal Injury Prevention, the injury or death rate of pedestrians distracted by gadgets – headphones, cell phones, and iPads – who are hit by moving vehicles has tripled in the United States since 2004.

Pedestrians with other things on their mind, especially the ones listening to incredibly loud music, can become so absorbed in their activity that they forget about what’s going on around them, just like distracted drivers. When distracted, pedestrian are apt to walk slower, not pay careful attention to traffic before crossing the street, and are more likely to walk in front of an approaching vehicle.

Researchers at the University of Maryland reviewed 116 accident cases from 2004 to 2011 in which injured pedestrians were documented to be using headphones. The mortality rate was shocking: 70% of such accidents resulted in death. There are certain groups that are more likely to fall prey to distracted walking: more than two-thirds of victims were male and under the age of 30.

As we create more and more entertaining devices the risk of injury from distraction increases for everyone. Some devices are so all consuming that even when drivers sound their horns pedestrians remain unaware of the danger they are stepping into. As kids are now entering their summer break it’s important to remind them of how dangerous not only distracted driving can be, but walking or riding a bike while preoccupied.

The following are some good tips for drivers and pedestrians alike:

• Pay special attention to bicyclists and pedestrians, even if they appear to be out of the way.
• Make sure to avoid distracted driving, that means no texting or internet surfing while cruising down the road.
• When you’re in neighborhoods reduce your speed, children could dart out into the road at any time.
• Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

• Pay careful attention to your surroundings and similarly avoid distractions such as talking, texting, and especially wearing headphones.
• Look both ways before crossing any street.
• Obey all traffic laws when crossing a street, paying special attention on busy roadways.
• Try to make eye contact with drivers to ensure that the driver knows you are there.

There is no doubt that multi-tasking on our roadways whether in a car or on foot is dangerous. If you have been injured and you have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi auto accident lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.

Source: “Headphone use and pedestrian injury and death in the United States,” by Richard Lichenstein, published at InjuryPrevention.BMJ.com.

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