The joke 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' may have just gotten a new answer - 'because he was distracted!' A new study performed in the Pacific Northwest indicates that nearly one in three pedestrians is distracted while crossing the street.
While many may point to cellular phones as the greatest distracter, there are many factors that may play into a pedestrian's distractibility resulting in accidents. The study shows that pedestrians engaged either on the phone, listening to music, talking with others, or taking care of either their children or their pets are all susceptible to the risks distractible behavior presents on busy streets.
It is estimated that nearly 3,000 fatalities occur every year due to distracted drivers. Many behind the wheel driving the streets you are walking are distracted by cell phone use, talking to passengers, or daydreaming. Add this to the fact that a distracted pedestrian takes on average two seconds longer to cross the street and is usually not paying attention while doing so, and you have potential disasters waiting to happen.
While it may be impossible to legislate the prevention of distracted pedestrians from causing injury to themselves or others like many states did with texting while driving, there are steps people can take to reduce the risks. When texting, pedestrians should look up from the phone or pause from their activity while at crosswalks, at least long enough to get safely to the other side. Also, as always, remember the old adage 'left, right, left.'
If you find yourself the victim of a pedestrian accident, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney practiced in personal injury in order to best assess your legal options.
Source: NBC Chicago, "Nearly 1 in 3 Pedestrians Distracted While Walking: Study," Michael L. Kaufman, Dec. 14, 2012