While Oklahoma legislators debate proposals to curb texting while driving in our state, another form of distraction endangers both motorists and pedestrians — distracted walking.
Motor vehicles and pedestrians share the road. Whether walking alongside the road or across it, pedestrians have an obligation to remain alert for danger and that requires attention.
A great deal has been discovered about the distraction of personal electronic devices while driving. Studies show driving while texting is akin to driving impaired. The marvelous mind, while able to focus and coordinate visual, physical and cognitive ability onto one task, is actually a lousy multi-tasker. If a driver is paying attention to a hands-free phone call, or a text, crucial attention needed to drive safely is diverted. The same is true for pedestrians:
- A study by the University of Washington looked at 20 high-risk intersections in Seattle and observed more than 1,100 pedestrians. It found about one-third engaged in distracted behavior while crossing an intersection, usually texting or talking on a cell phone.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes 4,280 pedestrians were killed in 2010, roughly one every two hours that year. While safety campaigns focus on deterring drunk and distracted driving, attention must be paid to the dangers of walking with your head in an app.
Any form of distraction is dangerous when vehicles or other dangerous equipment are present. Chances are pretty good you have personally seen someone walking down the street with attention on a device instead of the road.
Whether you walk or drive, keep your attention on the road in front of you. If injured in an accident caused by distraction, speak with an accident attorney with Stipe Law Firm for experienced legal advice.