Pedestrian safety is a serious issue in Georgia. Almost 200 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the state last year. In the decade between 2003 and 2013 there were 86 pedestrian accidents on the University of Georgia campus alone, according to the University of Georgia Traffic Safety Research and Evaluation Group. Nationwide, an astounding 4,700 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2013.
According to an Ohio State study, distracted walking is a dangerous and increasingly prevalent activity. Texting and walking may be even more dangerous than texting while driving. The new Pokémon Go craze has been problematic in terms of pedestrian safety. Despite the application’s loading screen’s warning for users to remain aware of their surroundings, accidents have been reported. A Pennsylvania teenager recently wandered into the highway while playing and was hit by a car. Two California men fell off a cliff while focused on finding Pokémon. Luckily, both survived. Believe it or not, a wanted criminal in Michigan unwittingly wandered up to a police station and was arrested while attempting to battle at the Pokémon gym located at the building. Marietta Police have reportedly had to increase patrols in response to the popular game. The Pokémon Go situation has garnered enough attention that the National Safety Council issued a statement urging drivers and pedestrians to remain distraction free.
Talking, texting, listening to music, and playing electronic games all impair a pedestrian’s ability to safely cross roads and to avoid potential dangers. Always stay aware of your surroundings while you walk, especially while you cross the street. Drivers are often distracted, and you should never count on them to see you. Act under the assumption that you are the only person looking out for your own safety. Simply prioritizing the task at hand over what’s happening on your phone could prevent a horrible tragedy.
Driving isn’t the only thing that’s significantly more dangerous if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2011, about 35% of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit for driving. According to Jonathan Adkins, a Governors Highway Safety Association spokesman, “nationally we’ve done a good job of educating people about the dangers of drunk driving, but we haven’t done such a good job of reminding them that other drunk behavior, including walking, can be just as dangerous.”
Distracted pedestrians give drivers another reason to stay vigilant and alert. When you’re on the road, anticipate the movements of pedestrians. Drive cautiously around intersections in case pedestrians dart into the road. Being aware of your surroundings is important for the safety of others as well as yourself. For more information about driving safely, see our Tips for Safe Summer Driving.
What to Do
In the event of an accident, whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, follow our Four Steps to protect yourself. If you are struck by a motor vehicle while you are walking, contact The Rhine Law Firm, LLC for an attorney who will advocate for your rights.