Communities Take Notice Of Texting Pedestrian Accidents
By now, most drivers are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. But recently, many communities are noticing and taking action against a similar danger: pedestrian texting. Research shows that texting while walking along the road causes users to pay less attention to their surroundings, greatly increasing the risk of car accidents . Inattentive pedestrians may be to blame for such accidents.
According to researchers at Ohio State University, over 1,000 emergency-room visits in 2008 were caused by pedestrians using their cellphones. Professors at Stony Brook University in New York found that texters are 60 percent less likely than undistracted pedestrians to walk in a straight line. The professors said that texting is far more distracting than talking on a cell phone.
Accidents caused by pedestrians using electronic devices can include entering or lingering in a crosswalk when the light has turned red. Some may unintentionally veer off sidewalks and crosswalks into more dangerous areas. These pedestrian accidents have created a disturbing new source of YouTube humor: videos of texting pedestrians tripping, falling and walking into glass. Common injuries include lacerations, sprains, bruises and fractures.
Deaths have also been reported. For example, in the small city of Fort Lee, N.J., alone, three pedestrians have died so far in 2012 of 20 hit by cars.
Communities in New Jersey, Delaware and Utah are taking preventative measures against texting pedestrians. They are generally using the same strategies that have worked against texting drivers: bans, tickets and fines. In Fort Lee, N.J., police have issued over 100 tickets to walking texters. Each ticket carries an $85 fine for “careless walking,” usually meaning jaywalking. The Utah Transit Authority fines distracted walkers near trains $50.
Several cities have taken more creative approaches. Delaware authorities posted large signs reading “LOOK UP” near busy intersections and crosswalks. Fort Lee police handed out informational pamphlets before beginning to ticket walking texters. Experts are paying close attention to see what works and what doesn’t.
The data shows that texting while walking is dangerous. Pedestrians in many cities can expect to see cops cracking down on the practice. A pedestrian that is injured by the careless actions of a motorist, or anyone in an accident because of a negligent texting pedestrian, may be entitled to legal compensation for injuries, lost wages and sometimes pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide advice about rights and remedies.