More Distracted Behavior: Texting and Walking

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Saturday, December 15, 2012

Distracted driving has become a well-know concern. The arrival of the cell phone, and more recently, the smartphone, has heaped more servings of distraction on the plate of drivers, who already availed themselves of other distractions like eating, changing radio stations, programming GPSs, reading papers, shaving and putting on makeup.

However, it is not just drivers. A study from Seattle has found that almost 30 percent of pedestrians in high-risk intersections engaged in “distracted walking,” with a cell phone or other mobile device. Every year 4,000 pedestrians are killed in vehicle accidents, while another 60,000 are injured.

The report from the Seattle Times noted only 25 percent of pedestrians looked both ways, obeyed the lights and crossed at appropriated locations. If you are distracted, reading email or texting on your phone, jaywalking is even more dangerous, as drivers will be less likely to expect your crossing at that point.

Texting was found to be “particularly dangerous” for pedestrians, which is similar to the risks for drivers. The demands placed on both the cognitive and motor skills by texting make it more engrossing and distracting than merely reading a screen.

According to the article, “Texters were four times less likely to look before crossing, obey lights or cross at the appropriate place. They also spent more time in the intersection, by nearly 2 seconds, on average.”

Whether listening to music or texting, the inherent danger of an encounter with a moving motor vehicle should be enough to give us pause before stepping off the curb into traffic.

Source: The Seattle Times, “Dangerous distraction: Study finds many texting pedestrians,” Carol M. Ostrom, December 12, 2012

Text with a live representative
Text “GETBC” to 314-222-2222
Standard rates apply