Distracted drivers are not only putting their own lives at risk more and more, they are also taking the lives of innocent pedestrians sharing the roadways. Recent studies show an increase in pedestrian deaths as a result of distracted drivers. 50% more pedestrians died at the hands of distracted drivers in 2010 than in 2005.
Distracted driving has become a public threat and is pervasive in our society, making it that much more difficult to deal with. If you stand at the road side and watch drivers, you will most likely see many who are texting, talking, using a GPS, or fidgeting with a cellular device in some way.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three main types of distraction while driving:
- Manual distraction, which involves taking your hands off the wheel (i.e., eating or applying makeup while driving),
- Visual distraction, meaning your eyes are no longer on the road (i.e., texting),
- Cognitive distraction, taking your mind off driving
Although the number of motor vehicle deaths has declined in the United States, distracted driving deaths, including pedestrians killed by distracted drivers, continue to rise. Pedestrians who are sharing the roadways by cycling, walking, or other activities, are going to have to be more aware of this threat.
Today, if most of us see a driver who does not have a young child restrained properly in a car seat, we are likely to be upset with the driver. Many of us will say something to the driver, demonstrating our anger and lack of acceptance for placing a child’s life in danger. However, when we see someone using a cellular device while driving, it is somehow more acceptable. This has to change, as we realize more and more the threat we are placing on the lives of others by being so distracted while driving.
Cases of distracted driving are likely under reported as well because it is so difficult for police to prove. This makes distracted driving much more difficult to enforce than other laws, like child restraint laws. The evidence on policies intended to curb distracted driving is mixed, and some are just not working. Policy makers suggest that if this is the case, we need to think about marking crosswalks and bike paths more clearly, and separate cyclists more from the dangers of traffic.
65 percent of pedestrian victims of distracted driving crashes were male between the ages of 25 and 64 years old, Caucasian, and more likely to be struck outside of a marked crosswalk in a city. Bicycling victims were mostly male — 83 percent, between the ages of 25 to 64 years old and Caucasian. About half of the accidents occurred during daytime hours.
Those who enjoy cycling, walking, or running near busy streets need to be fully aware of their surroundings, and know that distracted drivers are all around, placing them in danger.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident involving a distracted driver, you should call an attorney who can assist you with a claim against the driver. Call Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law in Dallas, Texas at (214) 329-1350, to get the facts sorted out.