What Are Distracted Pedestrian Accidents?

Distracted Pedestrian AccidentsDistracted pedestrian accidents refer to incidents where pedestrians, while walking on roads, sidewalks, or crosswalks, are injured or killed as a result of being focused on various things such as smartphones, headphones, or other distractions, leading to a collision with a vehicle or other hazards. These accidents not only pose a significant risk to the safety and well-being of pedestrians, but also impact the city of Tulsa’s overall road safety.

A recent analysis dove deep into the topic of distracted pedestrian accidents. It reports that “one in five of 1,536 surveyed pedestrians were involved in at least one incident as a pedestrian in the previous five years, and 21% of these incidents resulted in pedestrian injuries.” What’s even more concerning is that roughly half of these injuries were classified as severe. Per their analysis, the leading causes of pedestrian distraction were “using mobile phones, eating, smoking, group talking, drinking, and carrying bags.”

Why smartphones increase the risk of pedestrian distraction

Smartphones have become an integral part of modern life, and their widespread use is a significant factor contributing to distracted pedestrian accidents. The statistics speak volumes: in 2016, there were 4.70 billion mobile phone users worldwide, a number that surged to 5.22 billion by 2020, reflecting a consistent upward trend. In the U.S., 96% of young adults aged 18–29 own a smartphone. This huge presence of smartphones implies that a large portion of the population is potentially susceptible to distraction while walking, given the allure of these devices in this digital age.

Smartphones make walking dangerous when pedestrians prioritize them over the road because they divert their attention away from their surroundings. When pedestrians are engrossed in their smartphones, they are less likely to notice oncoming traffic, traffic signals, and other potential hazards on the road.

Other common causes of distracted pedestrian accidents

Smartphones are not the only culprit leading to distracted pedestrians. Other common causes include:

  • Headphones and earbuds. Commonly used for music and podcasts, these devices divert pedestrians’ attention from their surroundings, reducing awareness of oncoming traffic and hazards. This audio distraction can create a “tunnel vision” effect, particularly risky in busy urban environments.
  • Distractions from surroundings. Pedestrians often become distracted by their surroundings, engaging in conversations, admiring street art, or daydreaming. In urban areas like Tulsa, where visual stimuli abound, these distractions can lead to accidents by diverting attention away from the pedestrian’s path.
  • Internal contributing factors. Things like alcohol consumption only increase the risk of distracted pedestrian accidents. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, making pedestrians more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as jaywalking. Intoxicated pedestrians are also less aware of their surroundings, making it difficult to respond to oncoming traffic.

Impact of distracted pedestrian accidents

Distracted pedestrian accidents can have extensive consequences that greatly affect the individuals involved. Here are key aspects of the impact of distracted pedestrian accidents:

Physical injuries

Distracted pedestrian accidents often result in a range of physical injuries which can involve a prolonged recovery process, including surgeries, physical therapy, and ongoing medical care. In some cases, accidents can lead to permanent disabilities, significantly altering the victim’s quality of life.

Emotional and psychological trauma

Emotional and psychological trauma is another significant aspect of distracted pedestrian accidents. Victims often grapple with enduring mental health challenges after such a devastating accident, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional scars can disrupt their daily routines, strain relationships, and compromise their overall well-being.

But pedestrians are not the only ones who may suffer from emotional distress. Drivers who are following the rules of the road when a distracted pedestrian cuts out into traffic are also likely to suffer some emotional harm. So, too, could any witnesses to the collision.

Financial strain

Any pedestrian who suffers significant injuries in a collision or a fall may face financial difficulties. Aside from the medical expenses, they may be unable to work, need therapies that are not covered by insurance, or suffer other losses.

To offset these costs, injured pedestrians can use their MedPay coverage, if they have it. MedPay is available for use no matter who caused the accident, and can be used to cover things like copays and deductibles for health insurance.

The statistics prove the cause for concern for pedestrian safety is real

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urban areas saw a significantly higher proportion of pedestrian fatalities, accounting for 84% of the total, in contrast to rural areas, which made up only 16%. This urban-centric trend emphasizes the heightened risk faced by pedestrians navigating bustling city streets with increased smartphone usage and numerous other distractions. Additionally, in the state of Oklahoma, NHTSA also reports a total of 106 pedestrian fatalities which occurred in traffic accidents in 2021.

On top of that, pedestrian fatalities stemming from accidents in the U.S. have surged by 3.9% compared to 2019, reaching the highest recorded number since 1989. These statistics paint a grim picture of the challenges pedestrians face while on the streets if they’re not careful.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, reach out to the experienced team at Biby Law Firm for help. They understand the complexities of these cases and are here to guide you through the legal process, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve. Your safety matters, and together, we can work towards safer streets in Tulsa. Call our office or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case review at one of our Tulsa offices today.