Montlick & Associates: States Beginning to Crackdown on Distracted . . . Walking


June 28, 2012

Although most people in Atlanta and throughout Georgia are aware of the serious risks associated with texting while driving, fewer realize that texting while walking can be equally dangerous. A growing number of states are enacting legislation to keep distracted walkers out of the path of motor vehicles. Distractions in and around Georgia roadways are always dangerous, but pedestrian accidents pose a particularly serious risk because of the lack of protection available to pedestrians when struck by a motor vehicle.

Pedestrians that are focused on cell phones while carrying on telephone conversations or text messaging face a wide variety of potential dangers including:

  • Entering an uncontrolled intersection when it is unsafe
  • Walking against a stop sign or red light
  • Tripping and falling in the intersection when crossing the street
  • Misjudging distance and speed because of a lack of concentration

Pedestrians must be extra-vigilant about watching out for their own safety when confronted with unsafe motorists that fail to obey traffic signals, drive while intoxicated, or operate a motor vehicle while distracted. When a distracted driver and distracted pedestrian enter the same intersection, the results can be devastating permanent injuries for the pedestrian or even wrongful death.

Some states have begun to enact laws and to implement other safety measures directly aimed at curbing the practice of using a cell phone while walking. New Jersey and Utah have both implemented measures that impose fines on distracted pedestrians. Delaware has taken a different approach; reminders have been painted on the pavement warning pedestrians who are peering down at their phone while walking to “look up.” This is a growing trend as New York, D.C. and other states are considering similar measures to punish and discourage distracted pedestrians.

Texting while walking is a particularly serious distraction because it forces pedestrians to avert their eyes away from traffic signals, oncoming traffic or intersections and also diverts one’s concentration from the task of ensuring the roadway is safe before entering an intersection. While cell phones pose the most serious distracted walking risk, other dangerous distractions include listening to ear buds, using an iPod, reading the newspaper, or other forms of activity that distract drivers from focusing on an intersection.

Our Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick & Associates are available to assist 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.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.