We've all read about the multitude of dangers associated with distracted driving and how risky the behavior can be for everyone on Missouri roadways. But what about distracted walking?
According a recent article in the publication Injury Prevention, the injury or death rate of pedestrians distracted by their electronic gadgets - headphones, cell phones, and iPads - who are hit by moving vehicles has tripled in the United States since 2004.
One of the most vulnerable groups are those listening to incredibly loud music. Pedestrians wearing headphones or ear buds can become so absorbed in their activity that they completely forget about what's going on around them, just like distracted drivers engrossed in text messaging. When distracted, pedestrians are more likely to walk slower, not pay attention to traffic before crossing a road, and are more likely to walk in front of an oncoming vehicle.
Researchers dealing with the issue of distracted walking at the University of Maryland reviewed 116 incidents that occurred from 2004 to 2011 in which injured pedestrians were found to have been using headphones. The mortality rate was shocking: 70% of such accidents resulted in death. The study also revealed that there is one particular group that is most likely to engage in distracted walking: young males. More than two-thirds of victims of these accidents were males under the age of 30.
As our ever-increasing array of tools for distraction increase, so does our risk of possible injury. Drivers and walkers alike enter their own world and forget about the one around them, the one where innocent bystanders can have their lives changed in an instant due to careless actions. As children are set to begin their summer breaks now's an important time to remind kids about the dangers of both distracted driving and distracted walking or bike riding. Take the following tips to heart if you're a driver or a pedestrian.
Make sure to pay special attention to bicyclists and pedestrians, even if they appear to be safely off the road.
Avoid distracted driving. That means no texting or email checking while cruising down the road.
When you're in residential neighborhoods watch your speed, children can dart out into the road at any time, leaving you only seconds to come to a complete stop.
As always, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
You too have to avoid distractions such as talking, texting, and wearing headphones. Be aware of your surroundings.
Stop and carefully look both ways before crossing the street.
Follow posted traffic laws and pay special attention on busy roadways.
Try hard to make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they know you are there.
Multi-tasking on our roadways whether in a car or on foot is dangerous activity and we should all work to reduce the instances of accidents that occur as a result. For information on how to protect your legal rights if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, call one of our Jefferson County car accident attorneys today at 314-863-0500.
Source: "Headphone use and pedestrian injury and death in the United States," by Richard Lichenstein, published at InjuryPrevention.BMJ.com.
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