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First Distracted Driving – Now Distracted Walking?

Published July 7, 2015 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Most people are well aware of the risks when drivers engage in distracted driving behavior – texting behind the wheel, for instance, has been in the national spotlight for some time. In some instances, all it may take is a few seconds of a driver taking his or her eyes off the road to cause a car accident resulting in serious or fatal injuries. In 2013, distracted driving accidents killed 3,154 people and injured another 424,000, according to Distraction.gov.

Now, it seems as though some of these same distractions are putting pedestrians at risk as well. CBS New York recently reported that a university researcher has been studying the prevalence of distracted walking in and around New York City. Based on his observation of busy intersections, including the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, he has determined almost 30 percent of the pedestrians who crossed on a “walk” signal and 42 percent who crossed on a “don’t walk” signal, were distracted while doing so.

Causes of Distracted Walking Accidents

Individuals who allow themselves to become distracted while walking, face a heightened risk of injury. Statistics from a 2013 Ohio State University study reveal that distracted walking behavior has led to a staggering increase in emergency room visits among pedestrians.

Between 2005 and 2010, the number of pedestrians who required emergency room treatment after suffering injuries as a result of using a cellphone while walking rose from 256 to 1,506. Based on current trends, this number could double once again by the end of 2015.

The Most Common Causes of Distracted Walking Accidents Include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Using an electronic device
  • Wearing headphones when listening to music
  • Daydreaming

During the summer months, when children are out of school and parents often take time away from work, the chances of being involved in or witnessing a distracted walking accident will probably go up, particularly in crowded vacation areas and summer hot spots.

Distracted Walking Accident Injuries

The type of injuries an individual may sustain in a distracted walking accident will depend on his or her surroundings. The news has reported distracted walking instances where people have fallen into fountains, tumbled down steps, got limbs stuck in grates, ran into poles, fell off bridges or walkways, and even got hit by cars. In many cases, injuries from a distracted walking accident will be relatively minor. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, or maybe a broken bone. In more serious accidents, distracted walking victims could suffer neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, concussions, traumatic head injuries, or other catastrophic and debilitating injuries. In worse case scenarios, an individual who becomes distracted while walking could sustain fatal injuries.

How to Avoid a New York Distracted Walking Accidents

In our technology-driven society, it is not uncommon to see people attempting to multi-task when they really should be concentrating on the task at hand. With the constant need to stay connected, people always seem to be talking on their cellphones, texting, sending messages, taking pictures or posting to social media. Finding an individual without a cellphone in hand is rare in certain urban settings.

The most basic way to avoid distracted walking accidents is to put away your cellphone, keep your head up, and pay attention to your surroundings. It could save you the pain, suffering and embarrassment often associated with a distracted walking accident.

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