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Report: More Teens Engaging in Distracted Walking

Earlier this month, our blog explored statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which revealed that a staggering number of serious personal injuries and wrongful deaths here in the U.S. can be attributed to intoxicated walking. It’s important to understand, however, that this is only one subset of the much bigger problem of pedestrian accidents.

To illustrate, consider another NHTSA report released back in May, which determined that as many as 69,000 pedestrians are hurt in traffic accidents each year, with roughly 4,400 of these injuries being fatal.

The figures don’t become much more encouraging when you look at a recent report from the child safety advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide. Here, the group found that the rate of pedestrian accident injuries among teens between the ages of 16 and 19 has jumped by 25 percent in the last five years.

Interestingly enough, Safe Kids Worldwide also undertook a survey that perhaps reveals the primary reason why so many more teens are now involved in pedestrian accidents: electronic devices.

Here, the advocacy group dispatched its researchers to observe intersections located at 68 schools in 17 states. After watching more than 34,000 kids make their way through these crosswalks, they reached the following conclusions:

  • One in every five high school students was distracted by an electronic device while crossing the street
  • One in every eight middle school students was distracted by an electronic device while crossing the street
  • 39 percent of the students were either texting on their phones or listening to their headphones, 20 percent were talking on their phones and 2 percent were playing some sort of video game
  • Distracted walking was 25 percent more likely to occur at those intersections equipped with a traffic light
  • Girls were 1.2 times more likely to engage in distracted walking behaviors than boys

Safe Kids Worldwide is now asking all teens to take part in its “Moment of Silence” campaign, which calls upon young people to put their devices away or remove their headphones while crossing a street. In fact, the advocacy group is also encouraging adults to take part in the campaign, as they argue parents can set a positive example for their children.

“Technology is great, but technology doesn’t always fit into the activity,” said Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Let’s just be mindful of where it belongs.”

What are your thoughts on distracted walking? Have you seen kids here in Tennessee engaged in the practice?

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused by the negligence of another, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney.

Source: CBS News, “Report: Teens risk injury walking to school when distracted by devices,” Ryan Jaslow, August 27, 2013

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