Distracted Walking Accidents: Pedestrian Injuries Rise
Obviously, talking or texting while driving is a major hazard, and is recognized as a leading cause of traffic accidents. But a new threat of injury is emerging as an increased threat, as more and more people who are talking and texting while walking are becoming injured while doing so.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System compiles highly detailed case information from emergency rooms across the country into a database. Using their data from 2004-2010, researchers estimated that the number of pedestrian injuries has increased annually, from 559 in 2004 to 1,506 in 2010. Nearly two-thirds of those injuries – which ran the gamut from contusions to sprains to concussions to seizures to fractures – were suffered by people under 25. And a large number of them were either talking or texting on a cell phone while walking.
This seems to be a common problem. Recently, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company conducted a survey of 1,000 people nationally, and found that 60 percent perform some sort of task on their phone while walking. This, despite the fact that 70 percent noted that they realize that doing so probably increases their risk of being hit by a vehicle. In all, 26 percent claim they text or email while crossing the street, while 55 percent realizing the risk. Fifty-one percent talk on the phone and 34 percent listen to music while crossing, as well.
The results led the insurance carrier to suggest that could be the reason the number of pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents increased to 4,280 in 2010, which was a 4 percent increase over 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Increasingly, safety experts are recommending that we should all be made as aware of distracted walking as we are of distracted driving. Statistics demonstrate this is a serious problem, so something needs to be done to remind people of the lesson we learned in childhood; to look both ways before crossing the street.