Danger on the Corner: Distracted Pedestrian Injuries on the Rise

It has been scientifically proven that it is difficult for people to focus on two things at once. In the past, people used to joke about those who tried to walk and chew gum at the same time, but would trip and fall. In today's world, however, it is no laughing matter as people are walking and texting, playing games, talking or listening to music on their cellphones, or other portable electronic devices and getting seriously injured or killed because of the distraction. There seems to be danger on every street corner for these distracted pedestrians.

Surprising Numbers

While traffic deaths are decreasing, pedestrian deaths have risen by 4.2 percent, according to 2010 data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that approximately 1,152 people were injured while walking and using an electronic device, and had to receive subsequent emergency medical care. One study from the University of Maryland found there were 116 cases where pedestrians were injured or killed while walking and wearing headphones near trains or traffic.

According to various psychological studies, researchers have found that people quickly shift attention between tasks, causing performance on both to suffer. This behavior makes multi-tasking efforts like walking and texting difficult and dangerous. One study found that 265 people injured while walking and using handheld electronic devices were treated in emergency rooms in 2005, making it significantly more likely for distracted pedestrians to walk in front of cars when compared to those not using any devices while walking.

Types of Injuries

In recent years, various distracted pedestrian accidents and injuries have been reported in popular news sources. There were cases where a woman who was texting ran into a telephone pole and a man talking on a cellphone fell into a ditch on the side of the road. One woman fell off a curb and cut her face because she was texting while walking, while a young boy playing a game on a portable device was hit by a truck as he attempted to cross a street. These dangerous scenarios are becoming all too common.

Danger on the Corner

If distracted pedestrians do not change their practices of trying to walk while using cellphones or other portable electronic devices, there will be nothing but danger on every street corner. Some states and cities are trying to address the issue of distracted pedestrians with public service campaigns and laws to restrict device use while walking. The real tragedy, however, is that the pedestrians themselves have the power to prevent their own injuries and deaths from walking and texting, talking, gaming or listening to music.

If you were recently injured in a collision with a motor vehicle as a pedestrian, you do have rights. Contact a local pedestrian accident attorney to discuss your unique case and investigate whether the driver of the car may have been distracted or otherwise negligent in the operation of his or her vehicle prior to hitting you. You may be able to receive compensation for your injury-related medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering, which can help you and your family cope financially during the recovery process.