Look both ways and put the cellphone down to reduce accident risks

Texting and other distractions while walking can exponentially increase the chance of an accident for pedestrians. A new study finds that as many as one in three of those walking use their cellphone or text as they cross streets, which increases their risk of being involved in an accident.

Each year, there are about 60,000 people injured in
pedestrian accidents. More than 4,000 people die from these accidents on average nationwide. While many times the conduct of the driver causes a crash, pedestrian distraction is becoming a contributing factor in more accidents.

Texting while walking through a busy intersection increases crossing time

The recent study completed by the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington at Seattle used real world observations to arrive at its conclusions. The lead researcher, Dr. Beth Ebel, had her team observe 1,000 people crossing busy intersections in Seattle last summer. The observers recorded how many walkers were occupied by distracting activities, for example talking on the phone, listening to music or handling a pet.

Most of the walkers crossed the street on a green light while walking alone. Yet about 25 percent failed to follow all safety rules. Approximately a third of the walkers were multi-tasking while crossing the street. The distracted pedestrians took more time to cross the street, on average a second and a half longer. Walkers listening to music or coping with a child or pet were also less likely to look both ways before crossing the street.

Texting was the most dangerous of the behaviors. Those in the middle of reading or sending a text message while crossing the street needed an additional two seconds to cross. The extra time crossing the road could be the difference between a safe crossing and an accident.

The researchers believe that an educational campaign can increase awareness of the dangers associated with distracted walking.

Avoiding distractions reduces risks

As cellphones becomes more akin to miniature computers with new apps for almost every task, it is easier to complete a couple things at the same time. However, while walking it is still best to devote full attention to the surroundings especially when crossing busy intersections.

Following safety rules also necessitates looking both ways before crossing the road. For instance, simply listening for the sound of an oncoming car may mean missing an electric vehicle not emitting the typical engine sounds. To combat that specific problem, makers of electric cars may soon need to meet new minimum sound standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes this is another way to reduce the number of bicycle and
pedestrian accidents each year.

After a motor vehicle accident, it is important to get the advice of an attorney. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, remedies may be available to compensate you for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.