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The Dangers of Distracted Walking While Crossing the Road

July 23, 2018 | Accident & Injury

The dangers of distracted driving due to smartphone use are well documented, but there’s another surprising danger of the smartphone that could land you in the hospital – distracted walking. Pedestrians who pay attention to their phones are often putting themselves and those around them at risk. Here is a closer look at how distracted walking can contribute to pedestrian accidents.

Increased Pedestrian Accidents in Canada Corresponds with Increased Use of Cellphone Use

The latest report from OECD’S international Transport Forum indicates that road fatalities in Canada involving pedestrians are on the rise. Rising by 10.5 percent between 2010 and 2016. While there are numerous reasons for this increase, the rise in pedestrian accidents coincides with a steady increase in the number of people using smartphones.

Why is this? When a pedestrian is using a smartphone, he or she is more likely to trip, cross a road unsafely or walk into something like a street sign. All of this increases the likelihood that the pedestrian will end up in the path of an oncoming car. In addition, looking down at a phone while crossing the road, even in a crosswalk, prevents a pedestrian from seeing oncoming vehicles. If the vehicle does not stop, the distracted pedestrian has no time to make an adjustment and get out of the way.

The Danger of Inattentive Blindness

In one 2012 study from Stony Brook University, researchers watched people who were texting while walking. In the study, researchers found that:

  • Individuals who were texting while walking were 60 percent more likely to veer off course than those who were not texting.
  • Texting pedestrians were not focused on their actions while walking.
  • Texting hurt the pedestrian’s memory recall of the target location, increasing the risk of veering off course.

The study’s research team called this phenomenon “inattentive blindness,” and pointed to the fact that humans can only focus on one task well at a time.

Talking on the phone instead of texting is no better. About 69 percent of the injuries that occurred to people on cell phones in an Ohio State University study occurred to those who were talking on the phone, compared to just 9 percent for those who were texting. Any distraction a smartphone causes while a person is walking can lead to a pedestrian accident.

Contact Warnett Hallen LLP Today for Personal Injury Legal Help in Vancouver

The increasing use of smartphones means pedestrians are at higher risk of being struck by a car. While the solution to this problem is to put the phone away while walking across the road, if you are hit as a pedestrian, or if you are a driver who is involved in an accident because of a distracted pedestrian, you need the right legal guidance. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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