Pedestrians already are at risk when they step out into the street. Speeding cars and distracted drivers cause many pedestrian accidents each year. But, now more than ever, pedestrians are putting themselves at an even higher risk of an accident.
A recent study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, looked at just how many pedestrians were using mobile devices while walking. It also measured their safety as they entered busy intersections.
Observers at 20 intersections with the highest pedestrian accident rates watched 1,102 pedestrians cross the street. They noted how many were distracted when crossing, and how many displayed dangerous behaviors. The good news is that 80 percent of the walkers were walking alone, undistracted, and that the majority of pedestrians obeyed traffic signals and crossed safely.
However, several people were observed crossing the street with their attention focused on a device in their hands. Only one in four distracted walkers fully followed the safety routine of looking both ways, obeying traffic lights, and crossing in a designated crosswalk. Texters, in particular, were unsafe. They were four times less likely than others to cross safely.
For co-author of the study, Dr. Beth Ebel, the study points out what we already know—texting is a distraction. “This isn’t rocket science,” stated Ebel. “To be completely honest, many of us do it ourselves. I do not, because I’ve seen enough of this. But I guess I challenge us all to think [about] what we can do.”
Our Langhorne, PA pedestrian accident attorneys have seen too many people injured by distracted drivers. We join Dr. Ebel in asking that we all try harder to put the phone away and concentrate on the task at hand, whether it be walking or driving.