The dangers of texting continue to be studied and not just for drivers. A recent study by the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center found that texting has become a significant distraction for pedestrians and the behavior can put pedestrians at risk for being hit by a vehicle.
Researchers found that roughly one in three pedestrians crossing the street were distracted by using a cellphone or other electronic device. Only one in four pedestrians practiced safety precautions like looking both ways and obeying traffic lights before crossing the street.
Texting remains to be a very dangerous behavior for pedestrians. The study found that pedestrians who were texting were four times less likely to look before they crossed a street, obey traffic signals or use a crosswalk. The study found that texting pedestrians also took longer to cross intersections, putting them at an increased risk of being hit by a vehicle.
Texting and other behaviors that distract pedestrians have become increasingly dangerous in the U.S. Researchers said that vehicle-pedestrian accidents injury roughly 60,000 and kill 4,000 people every year. More than 1,100 pedestrians were injured and required emergency care after using their cellphone while walking last year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Pedestrians should use caution when crossing any street or when walking near high-traffic areas. Pedestrians should consider the following tips when walking to prevent being involved in an accident:
- Pay attention when crossing the street
- Pick your head up and try to make eye contact with drivers
- Look across all lanes of traffic before crossing the street
- Don't use your cellphone while crossing an intersection
- Cross at a designated crosswalk and obey traffic signals
- Remove earphones so you can hear vehicles near you
Source: Times Leader, "OMG! Texting can be dangerously distracting," Carol M. Ostrom, Jan. 17, 2013
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