Texting Pedestrians: Alarming Increase in Traffic Accidents
Texting and driving is a dangerous mix, and it’s a common cause of numerous accidents every year. However, when walking along busy city streets and intersections, pedestrians should concentrate their efforts on the surrounding areas instead of texting while walking. A recent survey taken by a leading insurance company found that over 50 percent of the people surveyed admitted to texting, talking and emailing while walking. Over 65 percent of the same individuals also found the behaviors to be extremely dangerous, especially when in the midst of heavy traffic.
Rise in Traffic Accidents
With the increase of cell phone use over the past few years, reports from the Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown a significant increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities related to traffic accidents. Close to 1,200 individuals required emergency room assistance for accidents that were caused by pedestrians who were found walking while using an electronic gadget. When walking through a busy intersection, studies showed, pedestrians were distracted by their cell phones while crossing, and it took them over 1.2 seconds longer to get across the street.
Houston Pedestrian Accident Risks
Houston has the third highest rate of pedestrian accidents in the nation, and it has accounted for over 40 percent of the area’s fatalities. While distracted driving can impair a motorist and cause numerous accidents, pedestrians are now falling victim to the many distractions of cell phone use each day. Because they are preoccupied by things such as emails, chatting on the phone, texting or watching videos, they are unable to focus on traffic, oncoming cars and other serious issues that could pose a threat. A pedestrian was killed in a hit and run accident in West Houston recently. The victim was apparently not paying attention and walked directly into the oncoming path of a pickup truck. The pedestrian perished at the scene of the accident.
Fatalities and injuries that include pedestrians crossing the street can be one of the most preventable accidents. Many times an individual is just too busy to notice oncoming traffic or other obstacles in their path. However, staying visible and practicing extreme caution is imperative in keeping safe. As a pedestrian crossing the street, you have the obligation to obey the necessary laws in that particular state. This includes crossing at the designated locations instead of navigating the middle of the street, taking your time and waiting until the road is clear to walk, and staying visible. One of the most obvious safety tips is to tuck away your electronic gadgets such as notepad, cell phone and musical headset while crossing the street.
In the case of the Houston influx of pedestrian accidents, residents have numerous resources available for individuals looking for helpful safety tips such as blogs and articles on legal websites. The Houston rail safety program, Operation Lifesaver project, is also a useful tool for safety tips. In addition, travel websites like http://www.ridemetro(dot)org provide beneficial help aids, precisely for pedestrian safety.
As technology advances, and the modes of communication expand, a personal injury attorney can be expected to see a significant increase in lawsuits related to distracted pedestrians. Many individuals feel the pedestrian has the right of way in any situation and because they step foot in the crosswalk, all traffic must stop. However, sidetracked pedestrians can be at the center of an accident between a driver and those trying to get across the street. Essentially, they must take responsibility for their negligent actions.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer who contributes this article as a way to shed light on the rising merger of texting pedestrians and accident injuries. Legal website www.houston-accidentattorney.com is designed to be an aid and tool for pedestrians seeking safety tips as well as for individuals looking for resources and ample legal representation.
Teens, Think You’re Not A Distracted Driver? Think Again!
One of the leading causes of death among teenagers is traffic accidents. Unfortunately, the most likely individuals who head the list in distracted driving statistics are teenagers and many become swayed by texting or chatting on their cellphones.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Any activity that diverts an individual’s attention from the task of driving safely can be considered distracted driving. Distractions such as eating, drinking, texting, cellphone usage, grooming, chatting with other passengers and adjusting the radio can all be an endangerment to their safety. The driver, passengers and innocent bystanders can be affected by this growing trend, and the statistics can be staggering. Close to 4,000 individuals were killed in accidents involving a distracted driver last year and another 399,000 were injured.
The best way to lower these horrific statistics is through education and a no cell pledge. Fines should be enough to stop teens from texting or using their cellphone while driving, and the amounts can exceed $300 in some areas. Whether you listen to a Los Angeles police officer or an auto accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, you will hear that your insurance rates can also be affected by distracted driving accidents, even if the crash wasn’t serious. Because this is a national problem, high insurance rates will be a factor for everyone.
Taking A “No Cellphone” Pledge
A no cell pledge takes a stand to end distracted driving, and your teen can be an active participant by signing the form. Through this pledge, they agree to never text or chat on the phone when driving. They also agree to speak up if they see their friends, family and other individuals drive distracted. Your teen can also do their part to educate the public about distracted driving, and enlist ways that others can learn to drive phone-free.
Safety Tips To Avoid Distracted Driving
There are a number of reasons why teens head the list in distracted driving. Feelings of invincibility and immaturity lead them to believe that an accident won’t happen to them. To ensure that your teen understands the serious consequences of the situation, you can implement some important safety tips. Parents can begin by setting a good example by driving safe. Other ways your teen can practice safe driving includes turning off the cellphone and keeping it tucked away until you’ve reached your destination.
Cellphones also have options that notify your friends that you’re driving, and you’ll respond when you are able. If you know that you’re going to be driving, don’t text or call anyone before you leave. Music is an important part of your teen’s driving experience and you can try setting your playlist, radio and sound levels before heading out on the road. Finally, if you get lost, drop something on the floor of the car or need to look at your GPS, find a safe location to pull off to the side of the road.
A teen’s mind is filled with thoughts of school, relationships, after school activities and family, and it can be easy for them to get distracted. However, they need to be an active participant in not driving distracted. As a parent, ensuring your teen’s safety is at the forefront of your mind. If they choose not to follow your rules, you can take their car driving privileges away until they can prove they are responsible young adults and realize the seriousness of distracted driving.
Having a teen nephew rapidly approaching the driving age gives Nadine Swayne the motivation to offer this article to parents. At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, you can speak with an auto accident lawyer in West Palm Beach if your teen is involved in a distracted driving accident. Since 1997, they have handled cases for client’s involved in collisions in south Florida.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/statefarm/7979444605/
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