It is well established that talking on the phone or texting is a major distraction to drivers that is dangerous and likely to lead to accidents. As a matter of fact, there have been studies saying that a texting driver is more likely to be involved in an accident than a drunk driver.
Now a study conducted at the University of Washington has revealed that 30% of all pedestrians crossing a street are distracted by some mobile communication device. It also concluded that pedestrians who are texting were four times less likely to look before entering the street, follow pedestrian traffic control devices or cross streets at designated cross walks.
After monitoring some of Seattle’s busiest intersections, researchers found that pedestrians who are texting took two seconds or more longer to cross the road than people who are not texting. Other past studies have documented pedestrians taking more risks crossing streets when talking on their cellphones or while wearing headsets.
Dr. Beth Ebel, who led the team conducting the research, said they observed over 1,100 people crossing Seattle’s busiest streets at random times. The result was astounding. Nearly 30% of all pedestrians were distracted in some way while crossing busy streets. Some of the primary distractions included listening to music (11.2%), texting (7.3%) and talking on a cellphone (6.2%).
Interestingly, those pedestrians using I-phones or some other smart phones walked even more slowly than others using other mobile devices and were more likely to walk into the street without looking or cross against the pedestrian traffic control device.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some 60,000 pedestrians are injured and 4,000 killed each year.
Dr. Ebel says that this is much like Pavlov’s experiment in behavioral psychology in which he would ring a bell and give them food. After a while, the dogs would begin to salivate after the ringing of the bell, even when there was no food. She compared getting a text message to the ringing of the bell, knowing that we are about to receive the treat of a message.
Pedestrians in many states could possibly recover damages from the driver of a vehicle that struck them, even if the pedestrian was partially negligent for not paying attention. Those jurisdictions have some form of comparative negligence. However, since North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state, pedestrians cannot recover if their negligence in any way contributed to the cause of the accident and resulting injuries.
Nevertheless, drivers need to be on the lookout for distracted pedestrians who are not paying attention when crossing busy streets in front of them.
If you or a family member have suffered any type of personal injury or lost loved ones in a fatal accident, it is best that you seek advice from a North Carolina attorney experienced in handling personal injury cases.
Auger & Auger has devoted 100% of its practice to nothing but serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience and are highly regarded in the legal community. Let us help you.
Contact us through our website or call directly at (704) 364-3361 to set up an appointment for your no obligation consultation.
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Texting pedestrians asking for trouble, study finds, NBC News, Article by Maggie Fox, December 12, 2012
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