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A New Cell Phone Threat: Distracted Walking and Pedestrian Accidents

For years, motorists have been inundated with warnings about the dangers of using a cell phone when driving, and there are strict laws in every US state prohibiting certain activities while behind the wheel. However, texting, talking on the phone, and related distractions can put any road user at risk of serious injuries, and pedestrians are among the most vulnerable. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that almost 6,000 people on foot were killed in fatal pedestrian accidents in 2017, a huge increase from just a decade earlier. Researchers attribute the spike to increased use of cell phones by walkers, an activity that can be just as deadly as distracted driving.

Negligent drivers will always be a threat to pedestrians due to the size of a typical motor vehicle, but avoiding distractions helps you protect your safety while also supporting your legal rights. A pedestrian accidents lawyer can explain the details, but some additional statistics and information on distracted walking may be helpful.

Statistics on Distracted Pedestrian Fatalities and Injuries

Additional data from the SNC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal how people on foot may put their own safety at risk through distractions:

  • From 2016 to 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the US was the highest it has been in 25 years. Walkers comprised 16% of all traffic-related deaths during this period, up 5% from 10 years prior.
  • In 2012, more than 1,500 victims sought medical care in emergency rooms after being injured in pedestrian accidents while using a cell phone. This figure is more than twice the number from 2005.
Cell Phone Safety Tips While Walking

The best way to avoid being struck by a motorist is to stow your phone while navigating sidewalks, crosswalks, and intersections on foot. Save calls, videos, and music until you reach your final destination, which also means taking off ear buds or a headset. If you do need to use your cell phone, step away from traffic until you can stash your device back in your pocket.

How Distracted Walking Affects Your Claim

The safety risks of using your phone may be obvious, but you should also realize how distracted walking could impact your claim after a pedestrian accident. All US states follow a rule that highlights your negligence in a personal injury case, though the details vary based upon jurisdiction. Using your cell phone while walking could be viewed as a negligent act, through which you had a hand in causing your own injuries. In some states, your carelessness could act as a complete bar to recovering compensation; in others, your monetary damages could be significantly reduced.

Consult With a Pedestrian Accident Attorney ASAP

From this description, you can see that avoiding distractions helps keep you safe AND protects you from allegations that your own negligence led to the pedestrian accident. If you were hurt in an incident caused by another motorist, you should reach out for assistance before taking legal action to enforce your rights. Call now to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer who can tell you more about your rights and remedies.

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