Walking While Being Distracted: A Risk Factor in Pedestrian Accidents

Walking while being distractedIn the newest data analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some 32,267 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2011. Of this number, 4.432 of them were pedestrians, a 3-percent increase from the previous year, in which the NHTSA recorded 4,302 pedestrian deaths.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, California, pedestrians accounted for about one-third of all traffic fatalities. In comparison, the national average accounts for only 11.4 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. This is according to a research study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

Indeed, the so-called “City of Angels” is still a not-so-friendly city for pedestrians. Incidentally, around 20 percent of road activity there involves not only pedestrians, but also bicyclists.

Pedestrians, too, can be distracted

The increase in pedestrian accidents on the federal and state level (in this case, the cities in California including L.A.) can be attributed to a lot of factors. One of them is distractions. Yes, even those who constantly travel on-foot to work or school can be distracted.

One such form of distraction is the frequent use of mobile phones, particularly smartphones. Such gadgets are often associated with distracted driving, where motorists tinker with their phones to text or call someone while behind the wheel. Apparently, this form of distraction also happens among pedestrians.

In fact, according to a study by the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center at the University of Washington, those who use such gadgets while walking are said to be four times more likely for pedestrians to ignore pedestrian traffic lights and fail to look left and right before crossing the road.

Moreover, the study also found out that aside from the use of such gadgets, some of the other common forms of distracted walking are talking to others, dealing with pets or children, and listening to music on their headsets.

What these pieces of information mean

These pieces of information only indicate one thing: distracted walking is as potentially dangerous as distracted driving. Also, with mobile devices such as cellphones and smartphones getting even more and more popular to the masses, it won’t be surprising that a lot of pedestrians may become distracted and be at risk of getting involved in an accident.

But then, it is never too late for regular pedestrians to hold off these distractions. Pedestrians should always be more cautious when they are on the sidewalk or waiting to walk on the crosswalks. On the other hand, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer also suggests that motorists must also be very well aware of pedestrians, and that they should also hold off using gadgets while driving to avoid accidents.

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