Today in the United States, there are 40 states throughout the country with at least some restrictions on cell phones and driving. Our Naples accident lawyers know that these restrictions typically focus on preventing drivers from talking without hands-free devices, from texting or from doing either or both. The restrictions exist because distracted drivers are universally recognized as a danger on the roads.
Recently, however, a new study shows that drivers aren’t the only ones increasing the chances of an accident as a result of the use of electronic devices. The study was conducted by Ohio State University researchers, who compiled and analyzed data on emergency visits related to cell-phone use. It showed that distracted walking is a major risk and that drivers who use handheld devices to talk or text while walking are also more likely to become involved in an accident and injure themselves.
The Dangers of Distracted Walking
The Ohio State University study was reported by The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/study-distracted-walking-causes-more-injuries-than-distracted-driving/277032/ , which published an Article with the attention-grabbing headline: “Study: ‘Distracted Walking’ Causes More Injuries Than Distracted Driving.”
According to The Atlantic’s summary of the Ohio research:
- The number of injuries caused by distracted walking increased from just 256 in 2004 to a total of 1,506 injuries in 2010.
- The increase in distracted walking injuries was about on par with the increased rate of distracted driving injuries.
- 69.5 percent of distracted walking injuries occurred when people were engaged in a conversation on their phone, rather than when people were texting on their phones.
- 9.1 percent of distracted walking injuries occurred when people were texting.
- Men were more likely to be injured by distracted walking than women.
- The majority of those injured by distracted walking were under the age of 31.
As this data shows, thousands of people are hurt each year because they are walking while they are focused on an electronic device.
Distracted Walking and Accident Risks
In some cases, distracted walkers have only themselves to blame when they get involved in an accident. For example, a distracted walker who steps directly into the path of an oncoming car rather than looking both ways before crossing the street would clearly be considered to blame for the accident.
In other instances, however, drivers of cars may be in a better position to prevent accidents and may be held at least partially responsible when a crash occurs. Drivers of cars, for example, have an obligation to exercise reasonable care. This means watching for pedestrians. If a pedestrian enters a crosswalk or is walking along the side of the road distracted, a driver should notice this pedestrian (even if the pedestrian is being careless) and should act in a safe way in order to avoid running into the pedestrian. If the driver isn’t paying attention or fails to notice the pedestrian in his path, this driver can be considered at least partially responsible for the accident.
Because pedestrians often do careless things when distracted, distracted walking accident claims generally tend to involve both the distracted walker and the driver sharing responsibility for causing the crash. When this occurs, injured victims can still recover partial compensation for loss- their damages are simply reduced based on how much at fault they were considered to be for the crash.
If you’ve been injured, contact the Hollander Law Firm for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call us today at 1-888-751-7770.