The New Street Hazard: Distracted Walking

People who would never think of chatting on the phone or texting while driving don’t think twice about engaging in those behaviors while walking. While it’s not dangerous in your neighborhood, or maybe even on a park trail, distracted walking in becoming a new danger on busy city sidewalks.

A recent Pedestrian Safety Survey showed that 60 percent of people multitask while they are walking, either texting, emailing, talking on the phone or listening to music. These can all put you at risk for an accident with bikes, motorcycles or cars if you are sharing the road, either in a crosswalk or at an intersection.

Nearly 55 percent of the adults surveyed said texting and crossing a street was more dangerous than running cross the street to beat traffic or jaywalking. A report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that more than 1,100 people made ER visits in 2011 after serious injuries due to texting and walking.

Beginning in 2007, states began enacting texting and driving laws. Today, 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico all have texting and driving bans in place, while some states like Nevada and a New Jersey town are moving towards banning texting and walking in intersections. Fines currently range from $50 to $85.

It’s important to remember that “texting” includes reading text ads and sending them. You don’t have to actually be typing to be texting and driving or walking, you just have to be distracted by texts in some way in the course of those activities.

Texting and driving is more difficult to enforce because, many times, officers can’t see the phone and thus lack probable cause. That should not be a problem with distracted walking.

If a driver who was texting and driving injured you, contact the Connecticut auto accident lawyers at The Pickel Law Firm.