Distraction is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents that personal injury attorneys deal with today. Much of the focus on distraction relates to distracted driving; however, did you know that pedestrian distraction is a major contributor to accident numbers? Lawyers see more instances every day where pedestrians are injured because they were distracted, often by their wireless phones.
Attorneys warn that if you use your phone while walking outside, you are just as distracted as any driver doing the same thing. Before you become a "digital zombie," consider these facts below regarding pedestrian distraction and learn how to avoid needing the services of personal injury lawyers.
Distracted Pedestrian Accidents On the Rise
According to the most recently released facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 2 million pedestrians in the United States are injured and nearly 5,000 of these injuries are fatal every year.1 This data reflects a continual rise in pedestrian injuries and fatalities and, as of 2014, accounts for 15% of all pedestrian fatalities.
Personal injury attorneys note that these rising numbers represent a increase in distraction-related injuries and fatalities as suggested in a 2013 research paper on ambulatory cell phone injuries.2 With injury and fatality demographics related to increasing cell phone use, safety organizations and lawyers agree that this shows that cell phones are distracting every day, even while walking in traffic.
Distracted Walking Is Dangerous
Although there is a greater focus today on distracted driving, personal injury lawyers are finding this focus needs to shift in the direction of pedestrians. Among all distractions, cell phone use is the main activity that keeps pedestrians distracted. Lawyers now realize this is leading to more pedestrian accidents every year.
Pedestrians are walking and focusing their attention on their phone to talk, text, or even play games are more likely to step out in front of a vehicle and be injured. Add to this the fact that some drivers may be equally distracted and the results can be deadly.
Are You A Digital Zombie?
Although you may think that your phone is not a distraction, personal injury attorneys stress the fact that it does not take much to pull our attention away from where it should be. Taking a call when your phone rings or texting while you are walking may seem innocent; however, attorneys know that when your eyes and attention are on your cell phone screen, you are unable to fully focus on what is happening around you.
So how can you avoid becoming a distracted pedestrian and digital zombie? Safety advocates and personal injury lawyers agree that it is easy to do - simply be aware of your cell phone use and commit to put the phone away while walking. If you must use your phone, attorneys suggest that you stop walking and go to a safe place away from traffic. Refrain from texting or talking while walking; pay attention to where you are going and all the traffic around you.
With cell phone use on the rise, personal injury attorneys are dealing with more pedestrian injury cases than ever before. Yet lawyers stress that simply because you are a pedestrian does not automatically make any accident the driver’s fault. If you are distracted while using your phone and proceeding like a "digital zombie," attorneys know you could be the person who is at fault.
To avoid situations such as these and the possibility that you may need the services of personal injury lawyers, your best choice is to just put your phone away. Stay safe - talk, text, and play once you get to your destination!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1NHTSA - Traffic Safety Facts - Pedestrians, May 2016
2ScienceDirect - Journal of Safety Research, Ambulatory Cell Phone Injuries, December 2013