Pedestrians Texting–Hazardous Activity?

Walk down any block in cities large or small, and you will inevitably see people walking across the street, into crosswalks, onto roadways, through parking lots with moving traffic, and along sidewalks, never looking up from their cell phones while they busily send a text or email. Worse, there have been ample examples on You tube of people walking into telephone poles, falling into Lake Michigan, falling onto train tracks, tripping on uneven areas of the sidewalk or into holes, into other pedestrians on the sidewalk, or in one heavily viewed video, a woman walks into the wall of a fountain in a mall, falling directly into the water while passersby look on.

At the University of Ohio in 2010, researcher Jack Nasar conducted a study of 1,500 pedestrians who suffered injuries while using their cell phones and who were treated at emergency rooms. The study showed that there were six times more injuries suffered by texting pedestrians than five years earlier. Nasar’s study included a teenager who fell into a ditch after he walked off of a bridge, and a 23 year old man who was hit by a car and suffered hip injuries when he walked into the street without paying attention.

Safe Kids Worldwide performed a survey this past October, noting that 40% of the 1,000 teens they interviewed admitted they had been struck by, or almost hit by a car while walking. Of those interviewed, 85% indicated that they were listening to music, texting, or on their cell phones when they were struck or almost hit. Dr. Barry Smith, director of the emergency medicine department at St. John’s Medical Center in Yonkers, noted that he sees many patients with orthopedic injuries suffered when they were walking and trip on the sidewalk, striking their heads or fracturing a limb. Obviously, the problems is greatly exacerbated when the pedestrian is focused on the music they are listening to, sending or reading a text or email, and not looking at what is in front of them.

A vehicle travelling at 35 miles per hour is moving at approximately 50 feet per second, and generally, it takes that car approximately 170 feet to stop if the driver is paying attention. Thus, if a pedestrian walks directly into the street without checking to see if the walk sign or green light is illuminated, even with an attentive driver, it will take approximately three seconds for the car to come to a stop, and there is a significant likelihood of a collision. It appears that in many pedestrian accidents, pedestrians who are texting simply assume that the driver is paying attention and will stop, regardless of the color of the light or the speed of the car, which is a very dangerous assumption indeed.

A word to the wise to those who insist on texting while walking on sidewalks, into crosswalks, or on the roadway: look up frequently to see what is in front of you; take one bud out of your ears if you are listening to music; and make sure you have the walk sign or green light before crossing the street!

Contact the experienced trial lawyers at The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you or a family member are injured in a car crash, truck accident, motorcycle accident, in a trip and fall, or on a construction site, for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys will fight the insurance companies and their defense counsel from the inception of the case to trial to maximize your compensation for physical and mental injuries, past, present and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, loss of earnings potential, and loss of enjoyment of life.