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Pedestrian accidents increase as more pedestrians use cellphones

Cellphones continue to pose a risk on the road, and it's not just drivers who are in danger of getting into an accident when they use their cellphones. Pedestrian accidents and injuries have increased as more pedestrians are being distracted by cellphones while walking. 

While cellphone use may only seem like a dangerous behavior for motorists, a new study by Ohio State University found that pedestrian injuries related to cellphone use has doubled since 2005. Pedestrian accidents can cause very serious injuries and fatalities. Despite the serious risks associated with pedestrian cellphone use, many pedestrians are not aware of the dangers of using a cellphone while walking. 

Many pedestrian injuries linked to cellphone use involve pedestrians becoming so distracted by their cellphone that they fall off sidewalks, walkways and bridges. Other pedestrians have walked into traffic or into areas where pedestrians are not visible to vehicles. These types of accidents have become all too common in the United States and there is one age group that is particularly vulnerable to being injured in a pedestrian accident.

The study reported that pedestrians between the ages of 16 and 25 are the most likely to become distracted and suffer injuries caused by distracted walking. The number of pedestrians being injured has significantly increased in the past few years. In 2010, there were 1,500 pedestrians injured in accidents that required emergency room treatment compared to only 559 injures in 2004, according to the study.

As distracted pedestrian accidents become more common, many safety organizations are trying to raise awareness to the dangers of using a cellphone while walking. Safety groups say that texting and even talking on a cellphone while walking is very risky and increases the chances of being injured, especially for pedestrians walking in high-traffic areas.

Pedestrians need to be aware of the dangers of using a cellphone. In addition, motorists also need to be aware that more pedestrians may be distracted and make sure they are looking for pedestrians crossing the street or walking near the shoulder of the road to prevent an accident.

Source: USA Today, "Study: Cell phone-related pedestrian injuries soar," Jennifer Smola, Sept. 17, 2013

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