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More awareness needed to prevent distracted pedestrian accidents

The number of pedestrian accidents has increased during the last few years. Many safety advocates blame the constant use of cellphones and other electronic devices that many pedestrians use while walking near traffic or across the street.

Pedestrian accidents caused by pedestrians being distracted by an electronic device or cellphone has become a safety issue in many states, including Ohio. While there are not specific statistics on pedestrian accidents caused by distracted pedestrians, states may soon start reporting on the causes of pedestrian accidents, especially when electronic devices may have contributed to the accident.

Reports by the Consumer Product Safety Commission show that roughly 1,150 people are seen in U.S. hospitals every year for pedestrian accidents caused by distracted walkers. They said that the actual number of distracted pedestrian accidents is probably much higher as many people don't want to admit they were using their cellphone or other electronic device.

Distracted pedestrian accidents can result in minor and serious injuries to pedestrians. Some distracted pedestrian accidents have even been fatal. Pedestrian safety advocates say that more awareness needs to made around the dangers of being distracted while walking.

Pedestrians should always be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, even if their walking in a crosswalk. Pedestrians should be careful when texting while walking. Safety advocates recommend that pedestrians stop to send a text message, especially if they are in an area with more traffic.

While there has been an increase in pedestrian accidents caused by distracted pedestrians, motorists still need to be aware of pedestrians by making sure to slow down near crosswalks and to always look for pedestrians in areas where both pedestrians and motorists are more likely to be.

Source: Fort Campbell Courier, "Command message: Texting fail - Perils of distracted walking," Art Powell, Feb. 7, 2013

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