Despite that traffic fatalities in the United States decreased in 2010, pedestrian deaths reportedly rose by more than four percent and injuries rose almost 20 percent. Some reportedly believe distractions from the use of electronic devices likely contributed to the spike. Unfortunately, most police departments do not maintain data regarding so-called distracted walking.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 1,100 pedestrians throughout the nation were treated in a hospital emergency room for an injury that was sustained while using an electronic device such as a mobile phone last year. Tom Schroeder, Director of Data Systems at the Safety Commission, stated the number is a national estimate based upon data collected from about 100 hospitals. Schroeder believes the actual number of such injuries was likely much higher because many of the injured may have neglected to mention using an electronic device. Additionally, hospital staff may have failed to note such information in a victim’s file.
Like motorists who text behind the wheel, distracted walkers are often unable to focus on two things at once. Consequently, injuries often result. Examples of pedestrian injuries that were sustained while distracted include walking into a telephone pole while sending a text message, falling into a ditch while speaking on a mobile phone, falling off of a curb while texting, and being struck by a motor vehicle while playing a video game. A study conducted by researchers at New York’s Stony Brook University found that walkers who text are 61 percent more likely to veer off course than those speaking on a cell phone. In addition, a researcher at the Ohio State University found that pedestrians who were using a mobile phone were much more likely to step out in front of a car than those who were not talking on a telephone.
Jonathan Akins, Deputy Executive Director at the Governors Highway Safety Association, said although the dangers associated with distracted walking are apparent, a lack of data makes it difficult to fully examine the problem. Both local and state officials across the nation are reportedly having difficulty with determining how best to respond to the dangers associated with walkers who are distracted by electronic devices. Officials in Philadelphia are reportedly in the process of creating a safety campaign aimed at distracted pedestrians. The State of Delaware also instituted an educational campaign designed to encourage pedestrians to look up from their devices. Failed distracted walking bills were also previously introduced in the Arkansas, New York, and Illinois legislatures.
In order to avoid injury, pedestrians must be careful to remain aware of their surroundings. Still, no matter how careful a pedestrian is, they may still become the victim of a distracted, impaired, or otherwise negligent motorist. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, approximately 80 percent of pedestrian accidents in Chicago occur near an intersection. Additionally, about half of such accidents occur on an arterial roadway and most pedestrian crashes involve an automobile that is turning. Pedestrians between the ages of 15 and 18 and those over the age of 60 are most at risk of being injured by a car while walking. If you were hurt by a motor vehicle while walking, you should discuss your rights with a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, give the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596. Our knowledgeable Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and aid you in filing your personal injury claim. For a free consultation with a capable attorney, please contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through our website.
Estate of Blue Island Teenager Who Died Following Root Canal Procedure Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Cook County, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2012
Deadly weekend of pedestrian accidents in Chicago, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2012
Distracted pedestrians stumble into danger, USA Today