Much is made of the distraction that texting poses while users are driving, but now there is increasing concern with those who text while walking. Pedestrians have always posed a special risk in traffic situations but the addition of the distraction of a cell phone increases the risk of a pedestrian being involved in an accident.
The most obvious site of a risk is the crosswalk. Studies have found that pedestrians who text while walking are less likely to look both ways before entering the crosswalk. This may mean pedestrians miss crosswalk signals and are also at risk from cars that speed to try to make the light before it turns red. They are also likely to take longer to traverse the intersection, increasing the risk of getting hit by a vehicle. They can also cause an issue with other motorists, like bicyclists, who have to watch both cars and pedestrians even if they have their own lane.
Texting is not the only problem, because pedestrians do a variety of things that cause distractions including conversations with others, phone calls, internet use, eating, and listening to music. Most of the offenders are those under age twenty-five, the group most likely to be connected and comfortable with technology.
Interactions with drivers are not the only concern. These distracting activities also create accidents with other pedestrians. It has caused so much of a problem that recently a city in China has created a texting lane for pedestrians. Although it is not legally binding, that sidewalk signage hopes to bring awareness to how much of an interruption texters are to the flow of traffic. Pedestrians have been known to miss hazards of the sidewalk, resulting in trips, falls, running into buildings, and falling through manholes. As a result, visits to emergency rooms by pedestrians have been increasing.
Texters need to be aware of the interruption they pose to the flow of traffic. The only solution is for texters to control their activity habits. Look up from the phone especially at a crosswalk. Do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk to read a message. A little common sense will go a long way in reducing the accident rate for texting pedestrians.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.