We’ve all seen the hapless businessman, completely engrossed in responding to an email on his smart phone. He bumbles alone the sidewalk, bumping into people right and left, but seemingly unaware of his actions.
We’ve also seen the young teenager, playing one of the hip new games created just for the smart phone. The teenager walks, head-down, oblivious to what happens around him.
We’ve also seen the harried mom. She’s connecting with someone via the texting feature on her cell phone. When the conversation takes a swerve into shocking territory, the mom completely focuses on her response, neglecting to notice what her two young toddlers are doing.
Yes, cellular telephones have changed our lives. For good, sure. But, now, research may indicate that these phones place us at a higher risk for a pedestrian accident.
A recent study focused on the impact of technological and social distraction for pedestrians.
The objective of a recent study was to examine the impact of technological and social distraction on cautionary behaviors and crossing times in pedestrians. Pedestrians were observed at 20 high-risk intersections during randomly assigned time windows in 2012. The observers recorded demographic and behavioral information. This included information about whether the person used a mobile device by talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music. Researchers evaluated whether the pedestrians displayed any unsafe crossing behaviors, such as disobeying the lights, crossing mid-intersection, or failing to look both ways.
Results of distracted walking study are shocking.
Researchers recorded crossing behaviors for more than 1100 pedestrians. Nearly one-third (29.8%) of all pedestrians performed some sort of distracting activity while crossing the street. These distractions included:
- listening to music (11.2%);
- texting (7.3%); and
- using a handheld phone (6.2%).
Texting, cell phone use, and talking with a companion all increased crossing time. Texting pedestrians took 1.87 additional seconds (18.0%) longer to cross the average intersection when compared with undistracted pedestrians.
Texting pedestrians were also almost four times more likely than undistracted pedestrians to display at least one unsafe crossing behavior.
Researchers’ conclusions give us all something to think about.
The researchers concluded that pedestrians engage in distracting activities, even when crossing intersections. Technological and social distractions increase crossing times; texting brings with it the highest risk. The researchers believe their findings suggest the need for intervention studies to reduce the risk of pedestrian injury.
Many of us walk all over our city. Many of us are also guilty of doing so while focused on an electronic device. We all know that texting while driving is dangerous. Now we also know that walking while texting is, too!
Have you gotten hurt in a pedestrian accident? Contact a Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer.
Chicago is a walking town. Try to be safe out there! But, if you find yourself the victim of an accident, contact our Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyers. At Ankin Law Office LLC, we represent personal injury victims. We will visit with you about your situation and let you know if we believe you have a valid claim. You may contact our attorneys by telephone at (312) 600-0000 or by email.