Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: Walking and texting an underreported danger

The number of pedestrians killed and injured due to distractions from electronic devices appears to be on the rise. The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk want all walkers to be aware of the dangers of walking and texting.

Studies have proven, and you have likely noticed yourself, that most people can’t focus on two things at once. But how many of us continue to text and drive or text and walk? Although there is a lot of attention being focused on ending texting and driving, evidence shows that distracted walking is a growing problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 4,280 pedestrians died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2010, a 4% increase from 2009. Officials estimated another 70,000 were injured, an increase of 19 percent from 2009. According to the NHTSA, on average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities in 2010.

Many officials believe the recent increase in pedestrians injured and killed is tied to the increase in pedestrians distracted by electronics – cell phones, iPods and other portable devices.

Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 1,152 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States last year for injuries suffered while walking and using a cellphone or some other electronic device. But officials believe that number is likely an underestimate, because many patients may not mention they were using a cellphone at the time they were injured or the doctor or nurse may neglect to include the information in their report.

Officials and safety groups are working hard to find ways to protect people, without infringing on their personal rights.

In Delaware, officials are using a public education to increase awareness of the issue, placing decals on crosswalks and sidewalks at busy intersections urging pedestrians to “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.”

Efforts to legislate distracted walking have proved mostly futile. The Utah Transit Authority adopted an ordinance banning pedestrians from using cellphones, headphones or other distracting electronic devices while crossing the tracks of its light rail system in Salt Lake City. However, the state legislature refused to make it a statewide law. Other distracted walking bills in Arkansas, Illinois and New York also failed.

The Ohio accident attorneys at Elk & Elk encourage you to avoid texting while walking to reduce your risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident. No text message is worth you being killed or injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident.

While it is important that pedestrians pay attention while they are walking or jogging, it is also important for drivers to watch and pay attention. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Roadway safety is a two-way street that requires effort on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike.”

If you or someone you love was injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, contact the Ohio accident attorneys at Elk & Elk. We have almost 50 years of experience representing victims of pedestrian accidents and we can help you and your loved ones get the justice you deserve. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today.

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