Walking can be dangerous to your health — especially when you or someone else is not paying attention. Walkers who are distracted, usually because they are making calls or texting on mobile phones, have suffered cuts and bruises, sustained serious head injuries or even been killed. They are particularly vulnerable when walking in urban areas, crossing busy streets and negotiating traffic. They suffer injuries from walking into objects and people, and sometimes even from walking off a curb, bridge, train platform or cliff. And they may cause accidents for motorists when they unexpectedly dart out into traffic.
On the other hand, pedestrians almost always have the right of way, unless they are not walking in a crosswalk. As Justice Musmanno famously said involving an intoxicated pedestrian: A drunk pedestrian is just as entitled to a safe place as anyone else, and more in need of it. While that is a paraphrase of the great Justice’s thinking, too many drivers are completely oblivious or even resentful of pedestrians, bikers, and other people who are not in a vehicle. Sometimes this is even worse with SUV drivers, who feel that they are the king or queen of the road.
Walking, like distracted driving, is a problem as people of all ages become more dependent on electronic devices. One may be injured by a distracted pedestrian, biker or driver. In some circumstances, if somebody is injured due to people distracted by electronic devices, they may be entitled to compensation.
Negligence may also be an issue. When a plaintiff is negligent, recovery is reduced by the percentage of negligence, and if the percentage of negligence is more than 50% in Pennsylvania, plaintiff cannot recover at all.
An experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated lawyer can make all the difference. The seasoned and compassionate Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters are on your side. We have a long history of results and offer a free consultation to help you sort out the facts and evidence to ensure that you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Cell Phone Distracted Walking
According to Injury Facts 2015, a statistical report published by the National Safety Council (NSC):
- In 2013, 6,100 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles and about 160,000 pedestrian injuries required medical attention.
- 23 percent of deaths and injuries result from pedestrians darting into the street, with the majority of those younger than age 15.
In addition, distracted walking incidents involving cell phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011.
- 52% of cell phone distracted walking injuries happen at home.
- 68% of those injured are women.
- 54% are age 40 or younger.
- Nearly 80% of the injuries were due to a fall.
Talking on the phone was the most prevalent activity at the time of injury, while texting accounted for 12 percent. Nearly 80 percent of the injuries occurred as the result of a fall, while 9 percent occurred from the pedestrian’s striking a motionless object. The most common injury types included dislocations or fractures, sprains or strains and concussions or contusions.
As a result of the rise in deaths and injuries, several state legislators have introduced bills that punish negligent pedestrians and/or bicyclists with fines, but these bills generally have failed. The main question raised is whether distracted walking laws can be enforced consistently by police officers, who usually have more pressing matters to deal with. Many believe that instead of imposing a law, the state should focus on distracted-walking education.
Some states are considering laws that would permit police to access a person’s cell phone, to see if they were using the phone for texting or other purposes at the time of an accident. Cliff Rieders at Rieders Travis Law Firm supports such legislation.
Distracted Walking Safety Tips
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 122 pedestrian fatalities in 2011. Philadelphia tried to publicize the dangers on April Fools’ Day in 2012 by jokingly marking off sidewalk “e-lanes” reserved for texting walkers. On a more serious note, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, who has acknowledged that distracted walking is a factor in increased pedestrian deaths and injuries, has granted $1.6 million to Louisville, New York City and Philadelphia for safety programs.
Here are a few tips from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council to avoid distracted walking:
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time.
- Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you.
- Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots.
- Don’t wear headphones while walking.
- Never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking.
- If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic.
- Never rely on a car to stop.
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult.
- Cross only at designated crosswalks.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing.
- Walk in groups.
Injured in a Distracted Walking Accident? Get a Free Consultation.
If you suspect your accident and subsequent injuries were caused by someone who was talking on their cell phone, texting, or was otherwise distracted, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Prompt legal consultation can ensure the collection of relevant facts and the preservation of evidence.
The experienced personal injury attorneys of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters have spent decades honing their skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. We offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, and aggressively fight for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome.
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