Attorney David I. Fuchs
Apr. 3, 2018
Car Accident Law
The rise of cell phone use around the globe hasn’t only contributed to distracted driving. It’s also caused an increase in distracted pedestrians. Distracted pedestrians are such an issue in some places that cities have installed sidewalk traffic lights to catch the attention of people looking down at their phones before they step into oncoming traffic. Comparing the most recent statistics for distraction-related deaths, it’s hard to tell which is more dangerous to pedestrians – distracted drivers or their own wandering minds. As a pedestrian in Florida, protect yourself by getting the facts on dangerous distractions.
The most recent year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has information, data showed that 3.8% of drivers were guilty of handheld cell phone use while driving. At any given moment during the daytime in the U.S., 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones behind the wheel. Distracted drivers caused 3,477 deaths and more than 391,000 injuries in 2015. As cell phone use only grows more widespread, these statistics will surely increase in the years to come.
Distracted drivers are dangerous. When a driver takes his/her eyes off the road to read or write a text message, it’s the equivalent of driving across a football field at 55 miles per hour with the driver’s eyes closed. In this amount of time, the driver could run a red light, roll through a stop sign, drive off the road, make an unsafe lane change, or strike a pedestrian who entered a crosswalk. It is every motorist’s duty to drive with the utmost care and diligence. However, pedestrian collisions aren’t always the driver’s fault.
The Governors Highway Safety Association’s 2016 data showed a surprising 11% increase in the number of pedestrians killed in the U.S. from 2015, with nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths total. As experts speculate as to the causes of the increase, pedestrian distraction arises as a topic. Some statistics estimate the percentage of pedestrians who walk while distracted to be around 60%. Distracted walking can make pedestrians oblivious to crosswalk signals, traffic changes, and right-of-way at intersections, exposing them to a higher risk of collisions.
To a pedestrian, cell phone use while walking can be just as dangerous as a motorist texting and driving. Stepping out in front of an oncoming vehicle can result in serious or fatal injuries. Pedestrians who don’t pay attention while they walk and fail to yield the right-of-way to drivers when appropriate could be liable for their own injuries in Florida. The laws of comparative negligence will reduce the pedestrian’s compensation award by his/her percentage of fault for the injuries. A distracted pedestrian, therefore, might not be eligible for any recovery if he or she caused the accident.
Distracted walking is a form of negligence in the sense that it risks the individual’s life. Distracted driving, on the other hand, is a type of negligence that can risk the lives of others. A distracted driver is a danger to all he or she encounters on the road. A distracted walker is really only a danger to him or herself. In this sense, distracted driving is the more dangerous practice. As a pedestrian, however, putting the phone away could save your life.