Distracted driving is a serious cause of auto accidents. It is estimated that in the United States, each day nine people die from car accidents caused by distracted drivers while another 1,000 persons are injured due to the same, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And those are just from accidents where the driver was known to have been distracted – it’s thought that these numbers are actually higher given the nature of distractions and the inability to confirm each case.
Did you know, however, that there is such a thing as distracted pedestrians, and that the latter is also a cause of accidents? There has been an increase in car and pedestrian accidents over the last few years, according to the National Safety Council. It estimates that there was a six percent rise from 2015 to 2016 and a seven percent rise from 2014 to 2015. It’s believed that – in part at least – these numbers are increasing because drivers and pedestrians alike are too distracted by their electronic devices and are not paying attention to their surroundings as they should be doing. As such, accidents are on the rise.
What is distracted walking?
The National Safety Council has coined the term distracted walking to identify an address the issue of pedestrians walking while paying more attention to their smart phones than anything else. The National Safety Council states that “[d]istracted walking incidents are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk.” The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that more than 6,200 pedestrians were fatally struck by motor vehicles in 2018, and the same number was similar in 2017 and 2016, but the 2018 statistic is the highest it has been in “nearly three decades.”
New Hampshire, fortunately, is one state that saw the opposite effect: a decrease in pedestrian fatalities due to car accidents. In fact, New Hampshire is last on the list for number of pedestrian fatalities. In part, the latter may be true because many cities in New Hampshire are walkable. The other reason may be sheer numbers: New Hampshire is a small state with a comparatively low population.
What are the other causes of the increase in pedestrian-vehicle accidents?
There are other causes for the pedestrian-car accident rate increasing over the last few years. These include:
- most roads were made for cars and not pedestrians;
- more people are walking on, near, or alongside the roads;
- there are limited crosswalks in rural and some urban areas, forcing people to negotiate with traffic to cross the street;
- more people are walking at night;
- there are more SUVs on the road, which are more likely to kill a pedestrian than a passenger vehicle.
What can you do to prevent car and pedestrian accidents?
It is important to pay attention to your surroundings and not your electronic devices regardless of whether or not you are driving or you are walking. If you are a motorist, obey the rules of the road. Likewise, if you are a pedestrian do the same. It will also benefit you to walk in groups whenever possible – groups are easier to see than when walking alone. You should also ensure you wear clothes easily seen in the dark if you are walking at night.
All in all, pay attention to your surroundings. If you do end up in an accident, get medical attention immediately. Then, if necessary, contact a personal injury lawyer in New Hampshire to identify if you have a case or not and, if so, how to proceed.