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Distraction is a Major Cause of Pedestrian Accidents

Jul 02, 2018

It’s the oldest and most reliable form of transportation – walking. Whether you are doing it to get somewhere or just for exercise, statistics report that it’s getting more dangerous. Every year, approximately 4,000 to 5,000 pedestrians are killed in accidents.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration reported that the number of pedestrian fatalities jumped to a whopping 6,000 last year. This is alarming, as it’s the biggest jump in pedestrian accidents in the recent past. Experts say that this jump is counter intuitive. We have safer, more autonomous vehicles. We have increasingly better traffic lights, intersections and crosswalks. The question is, what’s causing the increase and how do we prevent these accidents from happening?

Distracted Driving

If you drive down any street or sit in traffic, you will see a surprising number of people looking down at their phones. In this busy, multitasking world we live in, our cars have become our portable offices, day care centers, and rest stops. We aren’t just driving, we are communicating with bosses, friends and family. We are looking for directions, checking our email and maybe even our social media accounts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that while many of these accidents go unreported, distracted driving accounts for 27% of all car accidents. They estimate that texting while driving makes a car accident 5.36 times more likely.

There are three types of distraction; manual, visual and cognitive. Manual distractions include activities where you take your hands off the wheel. Visual distractions are things that cause you to take your eyes off the road. Cognitive distractions cause your mind to wander off the task at hand. Using a cell phone while driving includes all three types of distraction.

Distracted Walking

There are popular videos on social media that show people talking on their cell phone and walking straight into fountains, lamp posts, etc. We get a good laugh watching them, but these videos are highlighting a new and serious problem. This phone distraction is certainly one of the main factors in the increase in pedestrian fatalities, on average 5,000 pedestrians were killed and another 76,000 are injured annually. This statistic is growing every year.

To address the dangers of texting while walking, towns across the U.S. have placed bans on texting while walking. In London, lamp posts have been padded to protect people from hurting themselves walking into them!

Scientists refer to this practice as “inattentive blindness.” While the human brain has an amazing capacity to learn and process knowledge, it can only effectively focus on one task well.

This time of year, there are more people out and about. Instead of driving a few blocks, they may likely decide to walk and enjoy the sunshine. Whether you are walking down the street, or you are the one behind the wheel, be aware that it only takes a few seconds of distraction to be involved in a serious accident.

If, however, the unthinkable happens, please call us for guidance. The sooner that you contact us, the sooner we can help protect your interests. If you have been hurt because of the negligent actions of another, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Speak with a North Carolina pedestrian auto accident lawyer from our team today. Call us for a free consultation at (844) 472-9683.