Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Distracted Walking

Increased Injuries From “Distracted Walking” 

According to an article published in Bangor Daily News, safety experts and government officials are saying that distracted walking is becoming a growing problem.  

Though it is not as widely discussed as distracted driving, the danger is present. In city streets and shopping centers there are people walking around, most likely texting with their head down, talking on the phone, playing a video game or even listening to music.  

Reports from hospital emergency rooms have stated that there has been a spike in pedestrians injured and killed in traffic accidents. The reports of injuries relating to distracted walkers treated have more than quadrupled in the past seven years, according to the article.  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reported that approximately 1,152 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States last year due to receiving injuries from walking and using an electronic device. However, this report is considered an underestimate, as many patients will not mention they were using an electronic device at the time of the accident.  

Injury cases include a 28-year-old man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cell phone, a 53-year-old woman who fell off a curb while texting and lacerated her face, and a 12-year-old boy who was clipped by a truck as he crossed the street.

Some states, such as Delaware and Philadelphia, are drafting public education and safety campaigns to help pedestrians stay alert. 

A study from the University of Maryland has found that within the last six years, there were 116 cases in which pedestrians were killed or seriously injured while wearing headphones. According to the article, half of the cases involved trains and in a third of those incidents, a warning horn was sounded before the accident happened. 

Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 4.2 percent and injuries by 19 percent, according to the article.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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