Recent Report Indicates Kids and Teens Are Most Common Distracted Pedestrians


September 15, 2013

Many parents are providing their kids with cell phones whether they are in high school, middle school or even elementary school.  Because mobile phones allow parents to maintain contact with their children, they can provide a valuable safety tool in the event of an emergency.  Anyone with kids or teens also knows that Android phones, iPhones and similar handheld electronic devices provide access to games, social media sites and other distractions that can make it virtually impossible to get your kid’s attention.  Unfortunately, these distractions can present hazards for kids crossing the street that trump any potential safety advantages according to new research.

Research conducted by the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide reports that one in every five high school students and one in eight middle school kids regularly engage in activities on digital devices when they cross the street.  The study involved observing 34,000 kids and teens crossing intersections at 68 different locations across 17 states and noting whether they were distracted by an electronic device.  The authors of the new study suggest that the fact that more kids are carrying cell phone and other portable electronic devices and using them when they walk to and from school explains the recent sharp increase in pedestrian accidents involving kids.  The number of pedestrians between the ages of 16 and 19 has risen by 25 percent during the last five year period according to the report.

The most typical distractions involved listening to music and engaging in text messaging.  Exactly the same percentage of non-adult pedestrians were texting and listening to earphones with 39 percent of those observed engaging in one of these activities.  Another 20 percent of kids and teen pedestrians were observed talking on a cell phone.  Some pedestrians were also observed playing a game on a gaming console, tablet computer or other electronic device.

While all kids and teens are at-risk when they cross the street without focusing their attention on approaching vehicles and traffic signals, teens are especially at-risk.  Older teens account for almost 50 percent of all pedestrian fatalities involving those under the age of 19 based on a New York Public Radio report.  Because teens have far more experience with traffic and the hazards of entering a roadway than younger pedestrians, it is reasonable to assume that the increased use of electronic devices by teens may play a significant role in the high rate of pedestrian deaths involving those in their later teenage years.

Another factor cited by the authors of the study to explain the exceptionally high number of teen pedestrian fatalities involves the perceptions of teens regarding the risk.  The researchers found that teenagers were more likely to engage in distracted walking because they did not believe they were at-risk for injury when multi-tasking as they crossed the street.  In fact, nearly 80 percent of teen pedestrians assumed that the risk of a pedestrian accident was higher for those in other age groups.

If your child has been hit by a car when crossing the street, our Georgia pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those 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.

Category: Auto Accidents

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