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Texting and walking increases risk of auto-pedestrian accidents

When walking out on the streets of Oklahoma, pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings. Liberty Mutual Insurance conducted a survey to determine how many pedestrians use their phones or listen to a headset while they are walking. Of the people questioned, 60 percent admitted that they talk on the phone, text, email or listen to music while walking. The more surprising statistic found is that 70 percent of the respondents said that they consider these behaviors dangerous.

The advent of smart phones correlates to a rise in pedestrian accidents over the past few years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a four percent jump in the number of pedestrian deaths in auto accidents from 2009 to 2010, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 1,152 pedestrians in 2011 required emergency room treatment after incurring injuries while walking and using an electronic device.

The journal Injury Prevention published an observational study conducted in 2012 that described pedestrian behavior. The study found that almost one third of pedestrians were distracted by their phones while walking through the crosswalk at busy intersections. The study measured how long it took the pedestrians to cross the road and found that those the researchers had characterized as distracted took about 1.3 seconds longer than those who were not using their cell phones.

Distracted pedestrians may be more susceptible to being injured or killed by a distracted or negligent driver, but they are also more likely to be the cause of an auto-pedestrian accident. As smart technology continues to grow and people become more dependent on cell phones and other electronic equipment, personal injury attorneys may see an increase in the number of lawsuits being brought against the distracted pedestrians who play a role in these auto accidents.

Source: Consumer Affairs , "Survey: Distracted walking problem getting worse", Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013

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