In recent years, people have been bombarded with messages about the dangers of texting while driving. Studies have shown that auto accident risks increase exponentially when a driver tries to use a handheld device to text, surf the web, or perform similar tasks. In fact, such behavior has now been outlawed in 42 states.
But one thing that’s still legal is texting while walking. And believe it or not, this combination is starting to cause problems across the nation.
21st Century Danger: Texting While Walking
According to research from Ohio State University, from 2004 to 2010 the number of pedestrian injuries that involved mobile phones tripled, even while all pedestrian injuries decreased during the same period. A separate study indicates that out of the 41,000 annual pedestrian injuries that require visits to emergency rooms, some 15% of them involve cellphones. Many of these injuries are caused by a motor vehicle striking a texting pedestrian who isn’t paying attention.
Historically, most pedestrian injuries were concentrated in the elderly, child, and intoxicated populations. But with the advent of mobile phones, the demographics of pedestrian injury victims are changing; with many people between the ages of 16 and 25 years of age reporting pedestrian injuries. What’s more, some experts believe that these figures are underreported, since texting while walking can lead to an injury which many people find embarrassing.
The few attempts across the country to outlaw texting while walking have been met with resistance; and practically speaking, it would probably be a difficult law to enforce. Therefore, many safety advocates are finally beginning to raise awareness about this issue. They are encouraging pedestrians to stop walking while sending or reading texts, or to use voice commands to operate their smartphones. There are even some digital apps that can lower the odds of injuries while texting and walking, such as one which utilizes smartphone cameras to help pedestrian watch for obstacles in front of them.
Why Drivers Should Care About Pedestrians Texting While Walking
So if you’re a driver, what does this rise in texting while walking accidents mean to you?
The most important thing is to be extra cautious when driving in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians. This is especially true near schools, on college campuses, and in entertainment districts that cater to young adults; these areas tend to have higher concentrations of walkers who are more at risk for texting while walking accidents.
However, such pedestrian behavior may also have an effect on your auto insurance. If someone is paying attention to their phone and not where they are walking, they could walk out in front of your moving vehicle. In some cases, the collision may obviously be the pedestrian’s fault (such as crossing against the light at an intersection). But many other times, it may not be apparent (or provable in court) that the pedestrian was solely to blame.
As a result, your insurance company may be required to pay for some (or even all) of the medical bills associated with injuries to pedestrians. That’s largely because texting while walking is not illegal, and courts often tend to side with a person who has been injured by a moving vehicle. And if your insurer has to pay an injury claim, your future premiums could go up.
To minimize the risk of striking an oblivious pedestrian holding a cellphone, keep scanning the sidewalks for wayward pedestrians, use your horn to alert them if necessary, and lower your speed to give you more time to react if one should step out in front of you. As for lowering your auto insurance rate (for any reason), check out Auto Insurance Specialists to compare rate quotes. AIS has years of experience in saving drivers hundreds of dollars per year on their auto insurance.
Letting AIS lower your auto insurance costs is a smart thing to do – unlike texting and walking.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.