Pedestrians Are Paying the Price for Deadly Distractions
Distractions often result in accidents that cause serious and even deadly injuries to pedestrians, and according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, the problem is growing at an alarming rate. In 2016, crashes involving pedestrians caused approximately 6,000 deaths, which is the highest number in more than two decades. With an 11 percent increase in fatalities in a single year and a 25 percent rise in the last 5 years, experts are evaluating the potential causes and searching for solutions.
Distractions May Be the Biggest Factor in the Rise in Pedestrian Accidents
Although the improving economy and quest for optimal health have caused a recent increase in both motorist and pedestrian traffic in the United States, safety director for Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants Richard Retting asserts that these factors are unlikely to be the culprits in the surge of pedestrian accidents. Instead, Retting cites the rise in distractions as the main cause. While it cannot be confirmed that the dramatic increase in the number of people who are distracted by cell phones and other electronic devices is the main reason more pedestrians are being killed on America’s roadways, this seems to be the only major change in people’s behavior in recent years, according to Retting.
Cell Phone Distractions Can Prove Dangerous, Fatal
At any given time, it is estimated that about 660,000 drivers throughout the nation are using their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. As technology continues to place innovative ways of staying connected to loved ones, finding the closest restaurant, or catching the latest news at people’s fingertips, these numbers are only expected to rise. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use is involved in approximately 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents every year.
Texting while driving is the most dangerous type of cell phone interaction. It is the cause of roughly 1 in 4 motor vehicle crashes. Other important statistics surrounding cell phone use and driving include:
- Approximately 330,000 victims are injured each year in car accidents involving texting and driving.
- Texting is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- On average, responding to a text takes the driver’s attention away from the road for about 5 seconds. During that time, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will cover a distance equivalent to the length of a football field.