A pedestrian accident involving a car or truck can be deadly. Yet while the injuries are not nearly as catastrophic, pedestrians are increasingly getting into accidents caused by negligence — their own or that of other pedestrians. Unfortunately, just as it is with driving, distraction is becoming a major threat to pedestrian safety.
If past pedestrian accidents typically involved children, the elderly and the intoxicated, in today’s world they’re increasingly due to texting while walking. A recent study from Ohio State University even documented the trend. In fact, the number of ER visits for injuries related to cell phone activity — texting, but also others such as reading, scrolling through news feeds, and checking Facebook — tripled between 2004 and 2010. That’s the case even though overall pedestrian accidents were down in that period.
According to an ER medicine specialist from the University of Buffalo, distracted walking actually causes more injuries per miles traveled than distracted driving. When people walk along with their heads down, completely focused on their phones, they’re prone to tripping, slipping, falling down stairs — even walking into traffic, he explains. It’s so common these days that the city of London has been forced to put bumpers on some light posts because so many people walked right into them.
Just as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown in regards to texting while driving, the Ohio State study found people under 30 the most likely to suffer injuries related to texting while walking. And, just as with cell phone distraction while driving, the statistical risk is even higher for those between 16 and 25.
It may be the case that most texting-while-walking injuries are the result of the pedestrian’s own lack of care — insurance companies often assume so — but those caused by someone else’s distraction can be serious. For your own sake, watch your step — not your phone.
Should you be injured here in Texas as the result of someone else’s negligence, however, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. You should discuss the situation with a personal injury lawyer.
Source: Claims Journal, “Injuries Related to Texting and Walking Increasing,” Associated Press, March 5, 2014
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