Distracted Walking: A Growing Cause of Pedestrian Death

Published on August 10th, 2018

pedestrian death distracted walkingThe growing epidemic of pedestrian death by SUV has threatened and taken many lives. What is not always acknowledged, however, is the danger that pedestrians pose to themselves. It’s not just distracted drivers who are a threat, it’s distracted pedestrians.

Risks of Distracted Walking

People outside of cars are dying at a frightening rate. A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. Why? There are plenty of possible reasons, but the biggest concern is smartphone use. When their eyes are glued to their cell phones, pedestrians can’t focus on other things going on around them – namely, whether they’re in the path of a moving vehicle.

Besides walking into traffic and potentially being hit by a motorist, pedestrians can get hurt by:

  • Falling. Concentrating on a handheld machine instead of where your feet are taking you means the risk of falling is far greater, including tripping over curbs, tumbling down stairs,
  • Jaywalking. Walking when and where you’re not supposed to means you’re more likely to get hit, especially if your nose is in your cell phone.
  • Intoxicated walking. Being under the influence of any substance automatically increases your risk of walking into the road at the wrong time, falling in a crosswalk, or making poor decisions.
  • Walking at night. Sure, cars have headlights, and they use them, but it’s far harder to see a pedestrian who suddenly pops out from a sidewalk or appears on the side of the road, nose in a cell phone.
  • Wearing headphones. If a pedestrian can’t hear what’s around them because of listening to music, a book, or a conversation, they won’t hear a honking horn, siren, or approaching vehicle.
  • Walking into something. You’ve seen the videos of people running into street signs, poles, or other people, but it’s not so funny when injuries are the result.
  • Ignoring traffic signals. If your mind is going in too many directions, and half of your brain is concentrating on the phone in your hands, you are more likely to ignore traffic signals or forget to look both ways before crossing a street.

Phone use while driving can slow reaction time, so it would follow that phone use while walking can do the same. And that means it’s far less likely for pedestrians to stop, jump out of the way, or make a smart decision.

Pedestrians: Can They Walk and Talk at the Same Time?

Multitasking is not easy. In fact, many say it’s not possible. You can’t do everything well at one time, even though you may be able to do multiple things at once. Being confident in your ability to multitask is not a successful way to combat distraction.

Pedestrians have this device at their fingertips that lets them use their time productively, to combat their busy-ness by getting things done while they’re doing something as mundane as walking. But it’s not just typing or texting or scrolling that are dangerous – talking and walking are potentially even more problematic.

But know this: Texting or reading while walking alters your speed, gait, and walking pattern. In other words, your normal movement is impaired.

If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation. Our auto accident attorneys have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve. We do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today to schedule your consultation. 

Back to News

(248) 354-2222
1000 Town Center, Suite 500 Southfield, MI 48075
Have a question? Contact Us for Free Case Consultation GET STARTED NOW!