Thousands of pedestrians are killed in the U.S. every day and many more are injured. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), pedestrian deaths for all age groups have increased since 2009.
In 2018, the most recent year for which there are statistics, 693 pedestrians lost their lives on Texas roadways. Thousands more were injured, some so severely their lives will never be the same. At our Almasri & Marzwanian Law Group, we are dedicated to helping people understand the risks of being pedestrians and to encouraging them not to text while walking.
Texting While Walking Increases Risk of Being Involved in a Collision
A recent research report published in the journal Injury Prevention confirms that texting while walking compromises pedestrian safety more than any other pedestrian cellphone use. Those texting fail to look left and right before crossing more often than those who cross while listening to music or even while talking on the phone.
According to the summary of the research project as reported by Science Daily, pedestrian distraction “has become a recognized safety issue as more and more people use their smartphones or handheld devices while walking on the pavement and crossing roads.”
The research project pooled data from other studies and considered the following factors:
- The time taken to begin crossing the road.
- Missed opportunities to cross safely.
- The time it took to cross the road and get to the other side.
- Looking right and left before and during crossing.
- Collisions with other pedestrians and vehicles.
- Close calls with other pedestrians and vehicles.
The research revealed:
- Listening to music while crossing the road did not heighten the risk of colliding with another pedestrian or a vehicle.
- Talking on the phone was associated with a slight increase in both the time taken to start crossing the road and missed opportunities to safely cross the road.
- Text messaging is the “most harmful behavior.”
Text messaging while crossing the road results in:
- Significantly lower rates of looking left and right before and/or while crossing the road.
- Moderately increased rates of collisions and close calls with other pedestrians and vehicles.
- An effect on time to cross the road.
- An effect on missed opportunities to cross safely.
Although it seems like common sense, the NSC has issued the following recommendations for pedestrians:
- Do not text and walk!
- If you have to text, move to the side and stop. Get out of the way of others who are also using the walkway.
- Do not cross the street while you are texting.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
States and Municipalities Banning Texting While Walking
There is a trend of states and municipalities banning texting while walking. Although there is not yet such a law in Texas, examples of cities that have banned texting while walking or texting include Honolulu which bans pedestrians from texting or even looking at their cell phones while crossing the street. Fines begin at $15 and may be as high as $99.
Fort Lee in New Jersey imposes a fine of $85 on those who are cited for texting while walking. An ordinance in Montclair, California makes it illegal for pedestrians to cross the street while using their cell phones to talk, text, or listen to music. The first offense is a warning. Second offense is a fine of $100.