Distracted Walking – Common Risks and Tips to Stay Safe
Distracted driving is a known hazard. It’s the number one cause of accidents in the U.S., and it kills thousands of people every year. Distracted walking is a new type of public danger, especially since the advent of cell phones. Too often, people walk down sidewalks or cross the street looking down at their phones instead of up at their surroundings, which often leads to accidents and injury.
Distracted walking has become such a problem that many cities have started issuing fines if the police catch you walking and texting, as in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The states of Arkansas, Illinois, and New York have all tried unsuccessfully to introduce legislation that cuts down on walking and texting.
The main risk of walking and texting is the possibility of literally walking into a hazardous situation. It might be falling into a hole near a construction zone, tripping over an uneven sidewalk, or getting hit by a car or bicycle. You even put other pedestrians and drivers at risk by walking without paying attention to your surroundings.
Some of the injuries associated with distracted walking include:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Over 1,000 people were taken to the emergency room after they were injured because of walking and texting in 2008. This number was double what it was in 2007. And according to the National Safety Council, walking while using the cell phone accounted for approximately 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011, which is significant. And overall, pedestrian fatalities are increasing every year.
Texting and walking is so dangerous because the human brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. So, if you are focused on what is happening on your phone, your attention to your surroundings, such as traffic, other people, and hazards in the road, is numbed. It must be noted, however, that texting isn’t the only distraction that phones offer. Pedestrians are often distracted by checking their email, talking on the phone, playing games, or scrolling through Instagram or Twitter.
The best way to stay safe while walking is to put your phone away, take your headphones off, and pay attention to your surroundings. This way, you will know immediately if a car is honking at you or if it is safe to cross the street. Always look both ways before crossing a street, and only cross if there is a crosswalk. Wait until you get to your destination before pulling out your phone.
Contact a Pedestrian Injury Attorney
If you were injured as a result of someone texting while walking, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers have years of experience handling these types of cases and want to help you get the justice you deserve. Call our office at 203-397-1283 to discuss your legal options today.