Florida’s DOT Highlights Dangers of “Distracted Walking”

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has long been gravely concerned with commuter safety, but their research and campaigns regarding distracted pedestrians have been fairly limited. Until now, that is.

Our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers have written extensively on the issue of distracted driving, specifically how drivers who are texting, fidgeting with the radio, drinking from a bottle, cup or mug, etc., while behind the wheel of a car are putting themselves and their fellow travelers in harm’s way. Recently, the FDOT has started to raise awareness about the “perils of distracted walking” as a component of its overall effort to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the South Florida region.

In order to get Florida’s pedestrians to start paying more attention to their surroundings on busy South Florida roadways, the FDOT is imploring pedestrians to “Stop the Talk. Just Walk,” a phrase insisting that walkers focus on walking instead of texting. According to the FDOT, multiple cell-phone based activities are putting walkers in serious danger of being struck and killed by motor vehicles. Texting while walking, crossing the street while using your cell phone in any manner and walking along a roadway with headphones in makes you far more likely to be hit by a car than you’d be without these distractions.

As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg know, when you have your head down, focused on your cell phone screen, your eyes aren’t where they should be – in front of you. For all you know, while you’re texting about your evening plans, looking for directions or surfing the web, you could be walking at an angle – directly into traffic. Similarly, when you’re mentally focused on a phone call, and the content of that conversation, you might not be aware of the fact that the light signal changed and that you’re walking into moving traffic. Finally, when you’ve got headphones in your ears, you’ll be unable to hear a car right behind you – if a driver is driving erratically and is approaching you, not being able to hear the car approach could mean that you won’t have the chance to get out of the way in time. This is really a matter of life and death.

For the last two decades, safety advocate groups, according to the Sun-Sentinel, have listed the South Florida area (including Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County) as one of the nation’s most dangerous region for pedestrians. While collecting specific data on how many injuries have resulted from distracted walking is inherently difficult given the general terms and the relatively low likelihood that someone would self-report having been distracted while walking, there have been studies done that show that people aged 16 to 25 are the most likely to be hit while walking while distracted. (This age range also describes the group of individuals most likely to be glued to their cell phones.)

Please put your phone down when you’re walking along a street or near a busy intersection. No text is worth risking your life for; likewise, if you need to look up directions, do so before you head out. Safe planning can mean the difference between arriving at your destination, as planned, and arriving at the hospital’s emergency room.

If you have any questions about this safety issue, or if you’ve been injured due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another, please contact our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers by calling 561-266-9191 or by e-mailing us at daronberg@build.simple.biz to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you!

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