OSEA Safety Blog

The Dangers Of Distracted Walking

Monday, June 10, 2019 Julia Costa

Recently, I wrote an article explaining the dangers of distracted driving. This is my second part to that topic where I will cover the dangers of distracted walking and the new laws that New York is trying to put in place to correct this problem. As much as you can hurt someone from being distracted when driving, you can also put yourself in harm’s way by not keeping your head up when walking from place to place.

In 2017, an estimated 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles. This number was also mirrored the year before. Seeing similar statistics for two years in a row is worrisome. And although this number doesn’t tell if it was due to distracted walking or not, it still poses a concern since the number continuously increases every year. Specifically, in 2008, 1,000 people were injured from texting and walking and had to seek medical attention from a hospital. This was double from the year previous!

So what exactly can cause these injuries from texting and walking? One situation is being distracted while crossing the street. With some peoples’ eyes glued to their screens, forgetting to look both ways can cause people to walk right out into the street and into oncoming traffic. Another way people get hurt from being distracted while walking, is simply tripping or falling into things. Videos on the internet or people tripping into fountains or other odd places while on their phones, have become very popular on social media. Simple mistakes like that can cause serious injuries such as concussions or broken arms. In addition, people who are distracted by their phones while walking have a higher risk of being attacked by robbers. It’s easier to target someone who is caught off guard.

Although this seems like such a small issue, the issue is big enough to make certain states consider distracted walking a fineable crime. An example being New York City, who is fighting to make distracted walking illegal due to how many fatalities are caused by it. Fines for this type of illegal action would range anywhere from $25-$250. To learn more about this, follow this link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/20/us/new-york-walking-while-texting-trnd/index.html

Sources:

https://www.ghsa.org/resources/news-releases/pedestrians18

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/distracted-walking

https://www.safety.com/distracted-walking-a-major-pedestrian-safety-concern/

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