Distracted walking (walking on public roadways while texting, using cell phones or other electronics) is a growing safety concern. While less publicized than distracted driving, this safety concern is quickly gaining attention. The growing use of apps and electronics to manage busy lives poses a serious issue as pedestrians find themselves amongst vehicles, especially in high-traffic areas.
Statistics gathered by The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2012. Seventy-three percent of those deaths were concentrated in urban areas; rates of pedestrian accidents are higher compared to rural areas.
In response to these statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in April 2014 that there would be a $1.6 million initiative to increase education efforts and enforcement capabilities in three states –Pennsylvania, New York and Kentucky. Because Philadelphia, New York City and Louisville are on the list of highest pedestrian fatalities (Philadelphia reported 31 pedestrian deaths in 2012 and a three-year trend in increasing fatalities), the funds will be concentrated in each of these three cities.
This pedestrian safety initiative is in direct support of United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s newly announced Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative, which was unveiled in September 2014.
What does this mean for Philadelphia?
In Philadelphia, the portion of the $1.6 million grant (roughly $525,000) allocated by the NHTSA for the city’s pedestrian safety programs will be used in a combination of education and enforcement efforts. The city has established the new Pedestrian Safety Education and Enforcement Strategy in collaboration with NHTSA and will focus on increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted walking while also creating a presence of law enforcement in high-crash areas to enforce walking and driving laws.
As part of the Pedestrian Safety Education and Enforcement Strategy, warnings and/or tickets will be issued to pedestrians who are observed using electronics or talking on cell phones while walking. The grant funds will enable the city to place more officers on street patrol to promote safe walking practices. Resources will be allocated to promoting safe driving practices by increasing police visibility and patrols in 20 high-risk areas throughout the city during peak hours.
Data collection will be an essential element of the new Pedestrian Safety Education and Enforcement Strategy in Philadelphia. Tracking statistics on traffic accidents and pedestrian and driver safety will allow the new initiative to update and implement changes in policy and procedures as necessary in coming months and years.
The city is hopeful that the grant funds and strategic alliance will effectively decrease injuries and deaths in the city in the future.
Cordisco & Saile is Here to Help if Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
As a law firm that specializes in personal injury law, Cordisco & Saile understands the consequences of pedestrian accidents and the impact they can have on a victim’s life. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, our firm can help you make sense of the law and will work to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to address damages and rebuild your personal and financial stability. You may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Our team is knowledgeable about all laws affecting personal injury cases, and we are ready to serve you. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney. You also can use our online contact form to set up a consultation.