Safety when Walking has become a major category of traffic issues in the U.S. According to Safety Facts, more than 16 percent of all traffic deaths involved pedestrians. Children aged 10 – 14 and adults aged 50 – 69 each accounted for20 percent or more pedestrian deaths as a percentage of all traffic fatalities in 2017. In 2017, there were an estimated 7,450 pedestrian deaths (Injury Facts). This reflects a sharp increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009.
Cell Phones and Distracted Walking
We are making some progress in reducing the number of people who are using cellphones while driving – at least outlawing phones that require the use of hands. Unfortunately, we are not doing a good job of encouraging people to put aside cellphones when walking. Cellphones are the same kind of distraction to pedestrians as they are to drivers. Distracted walking diverts our attention from our surroundings, thus, putting us at risk.
The National Safety Council (NSC) has launched a program called “Head Up, Phone Down.” The goal of the program is to remind people of all ages to stop using cellphones while walking. This program points out that this is necessary when in the usual crosswalks and intersections. Surprisingly, it also reveals that more than half of distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes. This should be an adequate demonstration that we need to pay attention when walking at all times.
School Zone Dangers for Drivers
School zones and parking lots are very busy places, particularly before school begins for the day and when students are dismissed for the day. Within these zones, there should be no reason to use a phone while driving. Inattention of one call or one text message can be lifechanging for a child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the most common form of travel to school for students age 5 to 14 is the family car. This means that there are many cars in school zones and parking lots every day.
Safety Tips from The National Safety Council
- Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk; if no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic.
- Follow the rules of the road, obeying all traffic signs and signals.
- Cross streets at crosswalks.
- If no crosswalk is available and your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming traffic to be sure they see you.
- Stay alert – avoid cellphone use and earbuds.
- Avoid alcohol and drug impairment when walking.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult.
- Obey all traffic laws, especially posted speed limits in school zones.
- Watch for pedestrians at all times and be extra cautious when backing up.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, making eye contact to indicate that you see them.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
- Stay alert – avoid distracted driving.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you or a loved one has been injured while walking through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA for the guidance and representation you will need to make a claim or bring suit. Bettina Altizer has been helping people as a personal injury attorney for more than 30 years. Trust her compassion and tenacity. She knows that when rebuilding your life, legal action is about the money.