Distracted driving is a well-researched problem, and several states have passed legislation to ban technology use while driving. Everywhere we go, we’re reminded to not text and drive—signs are plastered on freeways, and ads on the radio that advise people to not text and drive have taken over the airwaves. What most people don’t realize, however, is that using your phone while walking is just as dangerous as using your phone while driving.

Distracted walking has been around since people first started owning cell phones, but new research proves that it’s becoming a significant problem. Each year, there’s an increasing amount of people injured as a result of texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music while walking.  Everyone’s a pedestrian throughout the day, whether it’s walking across a store parking lot or on your way to work; It’s essential to put away your phone while on foot.

The Rise of Distracted Walking

Cell phone usage while walking has become an epidemic in both big cities and small suburbs alike. The small town of Fort Lee in New Jersey has banned texting while walking. Pedestrians who are caught texting while walking in Fort Lee pay a hefty $85 fine. In urban cities such as London, England, some lamp posts are now padded to protect pedestrians who walk into lamp posts due to distracted walking. States such as Illinois, New York, and Arkansas are attempting to ban mobile device usage while walking at the state level, and it seems that more states will follow in their footsteps in the next few years.

Nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year due to distracted walking, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s one death every 2 hours. Worst of all, these figures are expected to increase in the coming years. 

Keep Your Head Up and Your Phone Down

Distracted walking accidents are increasing by the year, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. What can be done to reduce the likelihood of these accidents? Although the solution is obvious, some people need a refresher: stop using cell phones while you’re walking. When you walk and play with your phone, you lose focus on your surroundings and put your safety at risk. Not only are you risking your own security, but you’re also endangering others.

Don’t just stop using your phone at intersections and crosswalks; you need to do your best not to use it as you walk anywhere—which includes walking around your house. More than half of distracted walking injuries occur in the comfort of our own homes. This only solidifies the fact that we must remain aware of our surroundings everywhere we go.

It’s worth noting that not all pedestrians use their phones while walking, and several pedestrians are careful and alert at all times. If you’re a pedestrian who was recently struck by a negligent driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton to work with an experienced personal injury attorney today.