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Think it’s Safe to Text and Walk? Think Again

studysafetywalkingtextingHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Mar 5, 2014 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

Think it's Safe to Text and Walk? Think Again
You may be well aware of the risks of distracted driving, but did you know that pedestrians have a responsibility to ensure their safety on the road too? The percentage of pedestrian-related traffic fatalities rose significantly from 2002 to 2011 from 11-14%. While the total number of fatalities has dropped, more of them involve pedestrians who may have been distracted on their cell phones. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be safe on the road as a pedestrian in today’s technologically connected world.

Pedestrian awareness

Fatalities and injuries in pedestrians do show certain trends that may indicate the level of awareness in those involved in accidents. About 37% of pedestrians who died in traffic accidents were intoxicated, which means that you may be better off taking a cab home when you have been drinking. The majority of accidents took place in urban areas at non-intersections where pedestrians may think that the road is safer.

Texting and walking

One of the most impactful changes that may account for a rise in pedestrian fatalities is the shift to a screen-bound lifestyle. So many people are glued to their cell phone screens while they walk down the street, and this means that walkers are not aware of the dangers that may be right in front of them. Talking on the phone may do some damage as well, but it is not nearly as much of a distraction as texting or surfing the Web on your smartphone.

Possible solutions

To combat the problem of texting and walking, some lawmakers have drafted bills to limit cell phone use in common pedestrian areas. However, these laws have been widely rejected, so the solution may lie in cell phone apps that utilize the camera to show the street on screen while a person is texting. Still, the safest way to travel on foot is with your phone safely stowed away in your pocket or purse.

Understanding the data

Statistics suggest that at least 10% of ER visits related to pedestrian accidents are caused by cell phone use, but the number may actually be even higher. Because people are often embarrassed to admit that they were texting or using Facebook when an accident occurred, they may not provide accurate information when reporting the incident.

Do you typically walk to work or school? If you do, put down your cell phone before you start your trip each day. To share more safety tips for pedestrians on-the-go, leave a comment for us below!

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Kat Smith