Distracted driving is the focus of nationwide campaigns to promote driver safety. Texting and other use of hand-held devices is at the core of these efforts. Some may think it is a joke, but distracted walking is also on the rise and can result in serious injury and death.
Pedestrian deaths have decreased since 1975—from 7,516 to 4,884—but have increased 19 percent since the lowest death rate in 2009. Males are far and away the most likely to die as pedestrians, representing 70 percent of such deaths. This rate has been consistent since 1975. When a pedestrian death occurs between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., a blood alcohol content above 0.08 is present 49 percent of the time. In 2014, 76 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, while that rate was only 59 percent in 1975.
Pedestrian injuries increased in 2012 and have remained at a higher level. While recorded pedestrian deaths are fairly accurate, the number of pedestrian injuries are grossly underreported, so the overall effect of injury from distracted walking is hard to discern.
Walking while being distracted is very much like distracted driving. You see people doing everything from eating to reading the newspaper while performing both of these activities. As we are all aware, texting, e-mailing, dialing, and Internet surfing on handheld devices are the latest distractions. Indeed, the nature of these devices with two-way communication increases the opportunity for distraction as we grapple with the device to see an incoming message.
When it comes to walking, pedestrians can be struck by cars while mindlessly crossing the street as they pay more attention to their phones than oncoming traffic. However, injuries also occur without the involvement of a vehicle.
Pedestrians, especially in urban areas, are subject to other hazards. A survey by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 34 percent of injured pedestrians reported having tripped on uneven pavement or stones or stepped in a hole. These are exactly the kinds of hazards that would normally be avoided by observation that is negated by being distracted while walking. Obviously, there are myriad other potential hazards on an urban street such as light posts, trash cans, railings, and other people.
Remember that in Indiana, if an injured party is more than 50% at fault for his or her injuries, no damages may be recovered from others. It is important to avoid distracted walking, which may contribute to an injury for which you may not be able to collect compensation.
If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury in an accident, contact Blackburn & Green today at (800) 444-1112 or (260) 422-4400 or complete our online form. We are experienced in Indiana personal injury lawsuits, and we’ll help you assess the circumstances of your case in a free evaluation.