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Distracted Walking Puts Pedestrians in Jeopardy

The dangers of driving while talking on the phone, texting, or even eating are well known, but what happens when the distracted person is the pedestrian. There has been an increase in pedestrian accidents on streets, in parking lots, at train stations, and even in shopping malls, leading to serious injuries and even death. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help you get money for your injuries and the economic hardship that they caused.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), although traffic accidents decreased in 2010 from 2009, pedestrian accidents in that same time period increased by 4.2%. Pedestrian injuries increased by 19% year over year. This is at the same time as traffic accidents have decreased.

There is no hard proof that this increase in pedestrian injuries is the result of distracted walking, but anecdotal evidence does suggest that this is the case in at least some of the accidents. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission collected data that approximately 1,500 people went to emergency rooms for injuries suffered while walking and using a cell phone or other electronic device in 2010. This is up from 1,100 in 2009. Experts who have reviewed the statistics going back to 2005 say that the number of pedestrian injuries resulting from the use of cell phones has doubled in that time period.

A study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that people ages 16 to 25 years were in the highest risk group for getting hurt as a result of distracted walking. At the time of the accident, most of the injured were talking on their cell phones rather than texting. Talking on a cell phone led to 69% of the pedestrian accidents while texting and walking resulted in 9% of the injuries. This does not mean that texting is less distracting than talking on a cell phone, merely that more people are able to talk and walk rather than text and walk.

In order to remain safe while walking, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. Although these are geared for people out for a recreational walk, they apply to people traveling from one place to another.

• Walk so that you are facing oncoming traffic;

• Look both ways before crossing the street – quite a number of pedestrians have stepped out in front of cars, busses, and bikers, leading to serious injuries;

• Walk in a single file formation when out with other people – if there is no sidewalk or wide shoulder, it is best to minimize intrusion into the roadway;

• Be alert for bikers and runners – a number of people injured while on a cell phone collided with bikers with serious injuries resulting from the impact;

• Wear clothes and reflective gear to be visible to cars – although this is not practical for everyday activities, if you know you are going to be traveling a long distance it is something to keep in mind;

• Stay on the same course – do not weave from one path to another – a distracted pedestrian often veers into the road or another hazard;

• Keep the volume on any music player at a low level – although many of the emergency room visits were from distraction caused by cell phone use, listening to an iPod can lead to a distraction injury; and

• Wait until you get to your destination to have that conversation or move over to a safe location and stop.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will help you get compensation for your injuries. Our knowledgeable attorneys work with medical, financial, and accident reconstruction experts to present a clear picture of the harm that you have suffered. For decades, our personal injury attorneys have won personal injury cases throughout South Florida and obtained the compensation that our clients deserve for medical treatment and pain and suffering. Please call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case and present your legal options.

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