p>We all know about the bans on texting while driving, but what about the increase of incidents of texting while walking? A recent incident shows a video of a woman tripping and falling into a fountain at a local mall. We may laugh at the YouTube videos that show people running into others or bumping into things while they are on their mobile phones, but the serious injuries resulting from such behavior is on the rise.
Just last year (2011), there were 1,152 people treated in hospitals and ERs for incidents related to texting while walking. And it’s not just texting. Researchers revealed that there were 116 confirmed cases of pedestrian fatalities or serious injury while wearing headphones. Two-thirds of them were men under 30 years old and half of them involved trains.
And even though the traffic fatalities may be down from the year before, pedestrian deaths rose by 4.2% and injuries by 19%.
Some cities have banned or put fines on texting while walking – Fort Lee, NJ has a “texting while jaywalking” fine and Rexburg, a small college town in Idaho has put a $50 fine on texting while walking.
Other cities that have tried to impose fines have been unsuccessful. But some are just trying to protect us from ourselves. Philadelphia is drafting a safety campaign that includes signage trying to get people to “look up” while walking. “One of the messages will certainly be ‘pick your head up’ — I want to say ‘nitwit,’ but I probably shouldn’t call them names,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities. Of course, there’s no telling if the texters will look up to see the signs.
Another concern is how effective will legislation be? Will new fines or bans actually decrease the incidents of pedestrian accidents while texting? Jonathan Atkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Assn. stated recently, “We are where we were with cell phone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn’t have the data.”
One study from the Highway Loss Data Institute done on texting while driving bans shows that the laws have NOT resulted in reduced crashes. In fact, in three of the four states studied, accidents actually increased. This could be because drivers are not texting less, they are just lowering their phones to their laps so as not to be noticed. And typically, the increases in crashes were in young adults – younger than 25.
So what would happen if more texting while walking bans were enacted? Would it result in a decrease of incidents? Or would the texters just find more clever ways to hide their behavior?
John Bisnar, from the Bisnar|Chase Personal Injury Attorneys firm, states “We cannot legislate awareness or common sense. If texting and walking are banned and a driver strikes a pedestrian who is texting while walking, distribution of liability for the accident may change drastically. For information about how these new laws may affect your serious injury auto collision, speak with a Bisnar Chase attorney.”
About Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Lawyers
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In business since 1978, Bisnar Chase have recovered millions of dollars for automobile and pedestrian accident victims. For a free consultation, call 949-203-3814.