Distracted Pedestrian Concern Overblown, Study Shows
Florida has had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in the entire country. West Palm Beach has been noted to be especially perilous. In recent years, "distracted walking" has been discussed as a possible cause of many pedestrian accidents.
But new research casts doubt on this idea. A recent pedestrian distraction study conducted by engineering researchers at Northern Arizona University revealed that pedestrian distractions do not appear to be a regular occurrence at bustling urban intersections.
Debunking the myth of distracted pedestrians
As noted in a report by Curbed, study authors tracked more than 3,000 pedestrians at major intersections in two cities. What they found was that nearly 90 percent didn't display any indication of distraction while crossing those intersections. Further, all pedestrians, distracted or otherwise, were unlikely to engage in behavior that put them at greater risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
This is of critical importance because as recent analysis has shown, an estimated 95 percent of Americans have a cell phone and 77 percent own a smartphone. There is no denying that drivers who engage in cell phone use while the vehicle is in motion are extremely dangerous. In fact, distraction is reported to be a leading catalyst for the rise in overall traffic deaths, accounting for as many as one-third of fatalities. One in three motorists admitted in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that they had texted while driving at some point in the previous month. What's even scarier is that is probably an underestimation of the actual number of guilty parties because we're relying on self-reporting.
Another study published in 2015 in the Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering revealed that while there is a correlation between distraction and unsafe walking behavior, existing crash data suggests distracted walking is not a severe public health threat in the same way distracted driving is. They said current pedestrian crash data is insufficient to conclude the extent to which distracted walking causes and/or contributes to actual pedestrian safety problems.
West Palm Beach pedestrian accident attorneys, in particular, find this collective evidence significant because it weakens the defense theory of contributory negligence by distracted pedestrians. The research shows that distracted drivers are far more dangerous than distracted walkers.
If you were injured in a crash, contact our law firm and find out how we can help you.