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Watch where you’re going: Distracted walking lands 1,500 people in the hospital

pedestrian injury lawyerYou’re walking down the street and almost collide with someone too engrossed in their phone screen to notice where they’re going. That same person attempts to cross the street while typing a text, and doesn’t notice a car coming around the corner.

What’s more dangerous – driving while texting, or walking while texting?

We all know that distracted driving is one of the chief dangers on the road today.  While it might feel safer to text when you’re out from behind the wheel, pedestrians distracted by smartphones or listening to music through headphones account for thousands of pedestrian accidents and hospital visits each year. One study, conducted by the State University of New York at Buffalo indicates that there are more injuries per mile involving distracted pedestrians than distracted drivers.

Smartphone use has skyrocketed in the last ten years. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of people hospitalized annually in distracted walking incidents rose from 256 to 1,506.  And the number of people using smartphones has grown even more in the five years since then. The Fiscal Times shows a steady increase in distracted pedestrian accidents from 2010-2013. These numbers are expected to be vastly underreported, as many inured pedestrians would hesitate to admit that they were texting at the time of their injury.

Every day, people cross the street with eyes down at their phones. They collide with other pedestrians, fall off of the sidewalks, or step out into traffic. Recently in our own area, a man killed by a train was found to have ear-buds in at the time, and likely didn’t hear the train coming.

When people are ever more focused on their devices than their surroundings, it is a recipe for catastrophe, particularly on busy city streets where pedestrian traffic intersects with heavy car, bus, van, and truck traffic. In New York, a city that had seen a steady rise in pedestrian fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan has helped curb the number of pedestrian deaths by decreasing speed limits and enforcing traffic laws more strictly. But it is clear that pedestrians themselves must bear some of the responsibility.

To combat the issue of distracted walking, some communities have even experimented with imposing fines on those who text while walking in dangerous or congested areas.

When walking down the street, it is entirely necessary to be alert and aware of your surroundings. While walking is an excellent way to stay healthy, save money on gas, and reduce carbon emissions, it is important to pay attention. Keep your eyes up and notice the world around you. It’s a small, simple way to  stay safe and get more out of your daily walk.

When pedestrians do clash with motor vehicles like cars, buses, or trucks, the results can be devastating. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car-pedestrian accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. We have extensive experience representing victims who were injured or killed as pedestrians. Our initial consultation is free, so don’t hesitate to come speak with a lawyer about your potential case. We can be reached at 855-866-5529.



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