Our law firm has spoken out against distracted driving (which includes texting while driving) often in the past. Through our Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD) organization, for instance, we do our part to increase awareness of this growing danger. But a similar danger has been emerging over the last decade, and it is being referred to in the media as distracted pedestrians.
An article by CNNHealth recently reported on the dangers pedestrians face when wearing headphones while talking on cell phones or listening to MP3 players (iPods, Zunes), claiming that this practice can cause inattentional blindness and sensory deprivation. The article says that headphone use has been partly responsible for 116 accidents involving pedestrians and other vehicles between 2004 and 2011, with the number of accidents rising exponentially.
Admittedly, it seems unlikely that wearing headphones could be a major cause for car accidents involving a pedestrian. What’s interesting is that these statistics, provided in part by an Injury Prevention report, found that cars, trucks, and other automobiles are responsible for just under half of the stated crashes. The majority of these accidents involved a pedestrian being struck by a train. To unknowingly step into the path of a train suggests a serious element of distraction on the part of the pedestrians.
This issue of pedestrian distraction has been receiving attention in the last couple of years, with New York state legislators having proposed a bill in 2011 that would ban headphone use among pedestrians as they cross the street—as reported by the New York Times. Whether or not bills like this get passed, the issue of distracted pedestrians is starting to demand real attention.
For more information on the dangers of cell phone distraction, please see our Personal Injury Law Articles section, where you can find informative articles like “New Cell Phone Law for Truck Drivers”