Everyone has heard of distracted driving, but what about distracted walking? According to an article in the Journal of Safety Research, 20-30% of pedestrians are distracted while walking at any given time. This distraction increases the chances a pedestrian gets into an accident, including serious accidents with motor vehicles.
To improve safety, pedestrians should minimize all risks. Any distraction might have legal ramifications, also, as our Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer explains below.
What Are the Leading Causes of Distraction?
No one will be surprised to find out that the following are major causes of distraction:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking with people in a group
These are also the prime sources of distractions for motorists. The activities take a person’s eyes off where they are walking and cause cognitive distraction at the same time. When you are thinking about a text, you aren’t thinking about the intersection you are approaching or the car in the distance which doesn’t look like it’s slowing down at all.
What Are the Risks of Cell Phone Use?
Many observational studies have found that pedestrians using a phone are more likely to:
- Cross the street at a slower pace
- Pay insufficient attention to oncoming vehicles
- Rush into traffic before cars are stopped
- Engage in other risk behaviors
Interestingly, virtual studies have found that pedestrians who have a phone conversation process information slower and therefore made decisions much slower.
Why Does Pedestrian Distraction Matter?
Not all distractions are the fault of the pedestrian. Roads with a lot of “visual clutter”—such as signs, advertisements, traffic, etc.—confuse pedestrians and increase the chances of a crash. But this visual clutter is largely outside a pedestrian’s control.
Talking on a phone, texting, eating—these are things pedestrians choose to do. And, for that reason, you might be blamed as partially responsible for any collision with a motor vehicle.
For example, imagine you are crossing an intersection while texting. A motorist decides to make a right turn on red and passes much too close to you. In fact, the driver strikes you, sending you to the hospital.
However, when it comes time to make an insurance claim, the driver’s insurer says you are mostly to blame for the collision because you were looking at your phone. You can be sure the insurer will also make this argument if you go into court.
To protect your safety and legal rights, we recommend not texting or talking on the phone while walking—especially if you are approaching intersections or parking lots, or really any place with a lot of cars. You want to be 100% focused.
Reducing distraction also improves the odds of receiving a settlement. Don’t give a negligent driver any reason to blame you for the crash. Put your phone away—and keep your eyes peeled for approaching vehicles.
If you do get into a crash, contact the Wetherington Law Firm for immediate legal assistance. We can make a claim for compensation to cover your medical bills and other losses.