Pedestrian Distraction Can Lead to High Risk of Accidents Involving Cars in Asheville

We frequently post about the dangers of distracted driving accidents on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog but what about the danger of distracted pedestrian accidents in Asheville, Greensboro or Charlotte?

Gastonia injury attorneys know that pedestrians are at considerable risk of getting hit by a distracted driver while crossing a busy street but the odds become even greater if the pedestrian becomes distracted by an IPod, IPhone or other mobile device.
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The News & Observer reports that pedestrians who are talking on the phone, texting or listening to music while crossing the street are putting themselves in danger of not being able to see or hear their surroundings.

North Carolina reports approximately 2,500 car accidents involving pedestrians being hit happen every year. On average, more than 400 pedestrians are either killed or injured severely in North Carolina pedestrian accidents annually. Though alcohol seems to be a cause in 12 percent of these accidents, distraction is likely another leading cause of walkers being struck by a vehicle.

To this point, most of the distraction-related studies and research has been geared towards driving, but there is a need for more data on distracted pedestrians.

U.S. News & World Report states that a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has a growing number of small labs in which scientists can study pedestrian behavior. The labs are designed to have three screens set up in a semi-circle which show traffic amongst a street scene and the sound effects of road traffic is generated through speakers, creating a virtual effect.

College student volunteers for the study were asked to cross an intersection 10 times each, some with distractions and some without. The results indicated that texters failed to reach the other side 25 percent of the time, cell phone users didn’t make it across 12 percent of the time and those with no distractions only failed to cross to the other side 6 percent of the time. Participants listening to music while they tried to cross were crushed by virtually simulated cars traveling at 30 mph on a two-lane road once in every three attempts.

A fault of the study was that pedestrians couldn’t speed up and cars couldn’t slow down to avoid a collision which likely happens in real-life scenarios. What can be taken from the study, though, is that pedestrians need to be able to see and hear in order to detect a problematic situation in the environment. By having ear plugs in your ears or looking at a phone screen, a pedestrian may not hear or see a potentially dangerous situation that could be avoided if their focus was on the roadway and traffic.

Cell phones and iPods are not the only forms of distraction that can make crossing a street dangerous. Arrive Alive offers these distracting behaviors:

-Looking at a watch to determine the time.
-Swatting at an insect.
-Conversing with a fellow pedestrian.
-Reading an article in a magazine or book.
-Daydreaming.
-Sifting through a purse or backpack to find something.
-Eating a sandwich or salad while you walk.

These behaviors should be avoided if you want to reduce the risk of injury while crossing the street in North Carolina.

The pedestrian accident attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. are experienced in helping accident victims and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free consultation if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in North Carolina.

Additional Resources:

Texting while walking ‘not safe’, by Bruce Siceloff, News & Observer.

Distracted Pedestrians Pose Hazard to Themselves, Drivers, by Alan S. Brown, U.S. News.

Back to School: Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents a Danger in Greensboro, Elsewhere, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 19, 2011.

Pedestrians in Charlotte at Risk of Being Stuck by Alcohol Impaired Drivers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 23, 2011.

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