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New Study links distracted walking to pedestrian accidents.


The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Pedestrian Safety Action Plan reports that has over 100 pedestrian fatalities per year. GDOT estimated that 2012 pedestrian deaths would likely exceed those in 2011.

                    

Of the pedestrian fatalities, 91 percent occur in the roadway and only 5 percent occur in marked crosswalks. According to GDOT, over half involve either an impaired driver or a distracted pedestrian.

 

According to a University of Washington study, nearly one in three pedestrians is distracted by some kind of mobile device while crossing a street. Texting is the most dangerous distraction but not the only one according to the study published in the journal Injury Prevention. The study's authors noted that accidents involving pedestrians and automobiles injure 60,000 people and kill 4,000 every year in the United States.

 

The University of Washington researchers watched 1,102 pedestrians cross 20 busy Seattle roadways during summer 2012 at various times of the day. Researchers noted "distracting" behaviors including talking on the phone, texting, listening to music on mobile devices, talking to other people who were walking and dealing with children or pets.

 

Nearly half the witnessed distractions occurred during the morning rush hour (between 8 and 9 a.m.) and just over half of those who were distracted were between 25 and 44 years old. Slightly less than 30 percent were distracted in some way while crossing the road: 11 percent were listening to music, 7 percent were texting and 6 percent were talking on the phone. Researchers observed that distracted walkers took longer to cross with the exception of those who were listening to music. Music listeners crossed faster but did not look both ways as often as the others. Pedestrians distracted by pets and children also did not look both ways as frequently.

 

Pedestrians who were texting showed the riskiest behavior according to the study. Those who texted took two seconds longer to cross an average three- or four-lane street. They also ignored traffic lights and crossed in areas not designated as a crosswalk.

 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that over 1,150 people were treated in emergency rooms last year after accidents that occurred while they were using handheld devices. Those included a woman who walked off a pier while texting and another who walked into a mall water fountain; the latter video went viral and has over one million YouTube views.

 

Victims of Atlanta pedestrian accidents may sustain injuries that are exacerbated by distracted drivers. Call the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770-HURT-999 and speak with a pedestrian injury lawyer if you would like a free consultation.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia