When you are acting as a pedestrian, it is incredibly important to be as safe as possible. Failing to exercise caution while walking could result in a devastating car-pedestrian accident. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening to people throughout New Jersey as the result of “distracted walking.”
Dubbed “petextrians,” pedestrians who text while walking put themselves and others at risk. However, New Jersey is trying to lead the way when it comes to addressing the issue of texting while walking.
Texting While Walking Causes Accidents
“Texting while walking causes more accidents than texting and driving,” Healthline reports in a recent article. While injuries from texting while driving typically are more severe than those caused by texting while walking, about 10 percent of the pedestrians who are treated in emergency rooms each year in the U.S. are those who have been involved in a distracted walking accident, according to the article.
Texting while walking causes more accidents than texting and driving
However, the actual number of victims may be even higher, as it is believed that many pedestrian accidents go unreported – often due to pedestrians’ embarrassment at being injured because they were walking while distracted.
Even more concerning is the fact that, despite years’ worth of efforts by policymakers to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents in New Jersey and across the country, which led to a downward trend through 2009, the number of cell phone-related pedestrian accidents has increased dramatically in the past few years.
Unsurprisingly, those who are most at risk in being involved in these accident types are walking adults under the age of 30, primarily those between the ages of 16 and 25, according to Claims Journal.
ABC News reports that nearly 40 percent of teens in the U.S. have been hit or nearly hit by a passing motor vehicle or bike, and this is likely related to the fact that this age group also reports the highest rates of cell-phone related distraction.
While some texting while walking accidents and injuries may seem harmless, others can be very serious. The most devastating type of accident occurs when a pedestrian who is distracted by talking or texting with his or her phone walks in front of traffic or trips while crossing a road. It can easily result in the pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle. A victim of such an accident can be left dealing with traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, broken bones lacerations and more.
New Jersey Moves to Prevent Distracted Walking Accidents
Lawmakers in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. have acknowledged that distracted driving is dangerous. As a result, numerous states have passed measures that specifically address the use of electronic devices while behind the wheel.
New Jersey, in fact, has one of the toughest anti-distracted driving laws in the country. The law prohibits drivers from texting while driving or using a hand-held device while driving. It is a primary offense. This means that a law enforcement officer can stop and ticket you for the offense.
You can end up having to pay a fine of $200-$400 for a first offense, $400-$600 for a second offense and $600-$800 if you are ticketed three times or more. You can also face points on your driver’s license record and 90-day license suspension if you violate the law three or more times.
Lawmakers may soon take the same approach towards the problem of distracted walking in New Jersey. Cities in our state have joined other cities in the U.S. in implementing safe walking campaigns, and some lawmakers are proposing legislation that would prohibit texting while walking.
Be Safe: Don’t Be a Petextrian
Are you guilty of walking while using a cell phone or other electronic device? If so, you may be a petextrian. You may be putting yourself at undue risk of being involved in an accident. In addition to refraining from texting while walking, you should also be sure to:
- Put music away and keep your ears free from ear buds (if you cannot hear oncoming traffic, your risk of being involved in a car-pedestrian accident greatly increases).
- Keep your head up and eyes on your surroundings.
- Wear bright colors to help car drivers to see you.
- Wear appropriate walking shoes and certain shoes which may increase your risk of a slip or trip.
- Refrain from using any hand-held electronic device of any type (not just a phone but an iPad as well).
- Always hold young children’s hands when crossing the road.
If you do not follow the above guidelines, you may become the victim of a petextrian accident. The bottom line: Don’t let you or your family members become a statistic. Put your phone down and put your head up while walking.
Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident in New Jersey? Get Legal Help Today
Even if you were injured as a pedestrian in a collision with an automobile, you may still be allowed to recover damages through a legal claim. It will be important to have your case reviewed by an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer.
New Jersey is a comparative negligence state. When an accident occurs, each party’s percentage of fault must be assessed. Talking or texting on a cell phone while walking – and, in turn, failing to keep a proper lookout in to avoid an accident – could be an example of fault. However, you would be barred from recovering compensation only if your fault was greater than the other party.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., our attorneys can review your case if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident – even if it is one where you may be slightly at fault. We understand that the injuries in a pedestrian accident can be severe. We believe that you should explore all available options for pursuing a just recovery for your damages.
To learn more about your rights and how we can assist in your pedestrian accident case in New Jersey or New York, contact us today. Our firm features offices located in Teaneck and throughout New Jersey. We can provide a free consultation.