Although distracted driving has received significant attention as a serious public safety issue, distracted pedestrians have received a lot less attention. Kids walking down the street or crossing an intersection while their eyes are glued to the display of electronic devices like a mobile phone, iPod, Kindle or tablet computer are extremely common.
The danger of distracted pedestrian accidents may receive less attention than distracted driving because the risk of injury falls primarily on the pedestrian as opposed to placing others at risk like a distracted driver.
A new study conducted by researchers at New York University indicates that pedestrian accidents involving children using mobile devices and mobile phones are on the rise. Given this trend, the researchers are recommending that parents instruct children regarding safe walking practices, including focusing their eyes and concentration on potential tripping hazards and approaching vehicles when crossing the street or approaching intersections.
The researchers analyzed over 1,400 pedestrian-car crashes and found that twenty percent of study subjects between the ages of 13-17 were distracted at the time of their pedestrian accident. These distractions included listening to music on an MP3 player, text messaging, talking on a cell phone and using other forms of portable electronic devices. Adults were only half as likely as children to engage in some form of distracted behavior when they were struck by a motor vehicle as they walked, jogged or ran.
Studies of child pedestrian behavior and pedestrian accident statistics both reveal that kids are more prone to be victims of pedestrian accidents, but distractions increase this risk. Children have less experience judging distance and speed, which is exacerbated when they are not focusing all of their attention on moving traffic. According to a report published by the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, the demographics of pedestrian accidents involving kids has changed with the widespread use of portable electronic devices. Pedestrian accident rates involving teenagers are now higher than those involving young children. It is presumed that this shift is attributable to the fact that teenagers are more likely to use electronic gadgets than small children.
Insurance companies often defend pedestrian accident cases by attempting to blame the pedestrian. It is important to understand that if a child is injured in a pedestrian-auto collision, the child still may be entitled to financial compensation even if the child was distracted or otherwise partially at-fault in causing the collision. While negligence by a pedestrian may result in a reduction in recovery based on the percentage of fault assigned to the pedestrian, it will not bar recovery unless the pedestrian is 50 percent or more at-fault.
Our Georgia pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.