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Risks Associated with Texting and Walking

Written by Ankin Law Office

The dangers of texting and driving are well-known and extensively documented, but did you know that texting and walking may be even more dangerous?

Researchers say that texting while walking may actually result in more injuries per mile than distracted driving. Injuries can result from bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter, or stepping into traffic. In fact, according to this article, tens of thousands of pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms across the country each year, and some experts believe as many as 10 percent of those injuries come from cell phone-related accidents.

“While talking on the phone is a distraction, texting is much more dangerous because you can’t see the path in front of you,” said Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo.

As we reported last year, recent data has shown that texting and talking on a cell phone may also be to blame for the rise in the number of pedestrian fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after decades of a reduction in pedestrian fatalities, the number of pedestrian deaths rose from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,432 in 2011 – which many suspect is due to increased texting and smartphone use.

According to the LA Times, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have the highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents, with pedestrians making up 51% of all motor vehicle deaths in New York, 42% in Los Angeles, and 30% in Chicago. The Department of Transportation’s data also shows that 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, and more than 2 out of 3 happen at places other than intersections. More than 70% happen at night, with a third of the deaths occurring between 8 p.m. and midnight.

Research shows that cell phones place pedestrians at a higher risk for an accident, with texting pedestrians nearly four times as likely to exhibit at least one unsafe crossing behavior and taking an additional 1.87 seconds (18.0%) to cross the average intersection compared to undistracted pedestrians.

Despite the dangers, pedestrians continue to ignore the warnings about texting while walking. In fact, a recent study found that nearly one-third (29.8%) of all pedestrians performed some sort of distracting activity while crossing the street, including listening to music (11.2%); texting (7.3%); and using a handheld phone (6.2%).

Contact an Illinois Auto Accident Lawyer

Chicago has a significant amount of pedestrian traffic and, while “distracted walking” may contribute to some pedestrian accidents, negligent motorists may also be partly or primarily responsible for the accident. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, the auto accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC can help you pursue a legal claim for any injuries or damages that you may have suffered. We represent clients in Chicago, the surrounding communities, and throughout Illinois.

Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident lawyers.

Categories: Auto Accidents