Distracted Walking Accidents Double

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Pedestrian Safety Action Plan reports that Georgia 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.

A GDOT report indicates that the number of pedestrians injured while distracted doubled between 2005 and 2011. The report stated that pedestrians were frequently multitasking with earphones or texting and walking while looking down at their cell phones.

The report acknowledged that the number of distracted pedestrian accidents is probably lower than what actually occurred due to underreporting. Despite campaigns by government agencies and private companies intended to raise awareness of distracted driving, little attention has been given to distracted walking.

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.

If you or someone you know is a victim of a distracted walker, meet with a Clayton County auto accident lawyer. Call the Shane Smith Law to schedule a free legal consultation.

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