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Distractions: Increasing Pedestrians’ Risks for Serious Accidents

One woman fell off a pier while she was texting. A mother walked her stroller right into a water fountain. Others have walked into the paths of dangerous drivers.

According to ABC News, it’s a problem that we’re seeing a lot on our streets — distracted walking.

Our Cape Coral pedestrian accident attorneys should be clear: Inattentive and negligent motorists cause the vast majority of serious and fatal accident involving pedestrians. But that doesn’t mean the proliferation of electronic gadgetry has not left walkers vulnerable to distractions of their own.

Pedestrians are paying too much attention to phone calls, to text messages and to their mp3 players and not enough attention on the dangers around them.
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Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. We see more pedestrian fatalities than any other state in the country. This is an extra good reason why pedestrians in the area should have their full attention on their surroundings, regardless of where they’re walking.

“Keeping your head down while walking and not looking ahead of you can lead to a significant incident of injuries,” said Dr. Robert Glatter with the New York Lenox Hill Hospital.

Glatter says that he’s treated a number of pedestrians with injuries resulting from not paying attention along our roadways. He says that he treated injuries ranging from minor facial injuries to blunt head trauma.

According to a recent study from UNC Charlotte, less than 65 percent of drivers ever yield to pedestrians. About 20 percent of these incidents result in some sort of conflict or accident. It all depends on the area, too. Some areas show a yield percentage as high at 75, while others saw yield averages as low as 46 percent. In these areas, nearly 30 percent of the pedestrians were distracted and were unable to recognize when a driver failed to yield. Just as with driving, you can’t rely on the responsible habits of others. You’ve got to be one step ahead of the game and be an alert and defensive traveler.

“With the smartphone technology these days and everything at your fingertips, it’s almost getting to be an obsession or a compulsion with people,” said Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Jim Fox.

In 2011 alone, there were more than 1,100 people who visited an emergency room because of a pedestrian-related traffic accident that happened while they were using an electronic device. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), these injuries include a woman who walked directly into a telephone pole, a man who fell into a ditch and another man who was clipped by a passing truck as he attempted to cross the street.

Although the number of traffic fatalities declined in 2010 compared to 2009, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by more than 4 percent. Injuries among pedestrians rose nearly 20 percent during this time, too.

Pedestrians are urged to keep their head up and their eyes on their surroundings to help to avoid an accident with another motorist, as well as other road hazards. Stay alert, walk cautiously and stay out of a potentially fatal accident.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, call us today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Pedestrian Accidents in Lee and Collier County Up in February
, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2012

Elderly at Higher Risk for South Fort Myers Pedestrian Accidents, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 13, 2012