We have all been taught to “look both ways before crossing the street” from our childhood. Both our parents and teachers kept telling us that this is the number one rule for you, as a pedestrian, when crossing the street or intersection.
And although the rule is still important and can potentially save your life, it is no longer the most critical rule for pedestrians. While the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in California continues to increase almost every year, pedestrians’ failure to look both ways is not the most common cause of pedestrian accidents anymore. Smartphones and other electronic devices are.
“This trend is particularly noticeable among teenagers and younger adults, who are literally glued to their phones even when crossing the street or intersection,” explains our San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney at the Allegiance Law.
Each year, over 80,000 pedestrians sustain injuries after getting hit by a vehicle on crosswalks when crossing the street or intersection in the United States. Another 4,000 pedestrians die in pedestrian accidents every year.
The statistics are especially alarming when you look at the leading cause of pedestrian accidents in the U.S. Statistics shows that up to 40 percent of all pedestrian accidents in California and all across the U.S. involve a pedestrian wearing headphones, texting or otherwise being distracted by their phone or other electronic devices at the time of the collision.
“So yeah, the importance of the ‘look both ways before you cross the street’ rule has decreased substantially and can be replaced by the ‘do not text or get distracted by your phone’ rule,” says our experienced pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco.
Times have changed, and distracted walking can be fatal even around crosswalks and intersections, where it seems that motorists must be on alert and slow down to prevent pedestrian accidents.
But motorists are not the main problem here. Pedestrians are. The problem of distracted walking is particularly serious around crosswalks and intersections with lighted signals. “Wait, it does not make any sense,” you may think. “These areas are supposed to be safer for pedestrians than all other areas of the street or road.”
Not for distracted pedestrians.
Statistics show that pedestrians have a false sense of protection when crossing the street or intersection within a crosswalk with lighted signals as if there is an invisible shield protecting them while they are crossing the street or intersection.
This false sense of protection makes it tempting to use their phone or in any other way get distracted, while they are supposed to be on alert and looking both ways. In these situations, attentiveness is key to road safety. Keep in mind that these painted lines on the crosswalk are not some invisible force field protecting you from all hazards and dangers, and you are just as vulnerable when crossing the street against a green light as when you are jaywalking or crossing the street illegally or against a red light.
“Crossing the street against a green light within a crosswalk or intersection should NOT be an excuse to get distracted and text or play games on your phone when crossing the street or intersection,” explains our San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation from our best pedestrian accident lawyers in California. Contact the Allegiance Law today. Call our offices at 415-404-6395 or complete this contact form.