Danger for Pedestrians
How distracted driving impacts pedestrians and cyclists.
Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project
There are good and bad signs to be found in trends of traffic fatalities. According to a new study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, total traffic deaths have declined in recent years. On the other hand, however, the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed by distracted drivers is on the rise.
The new study, published in Public Health Reports, concludes that distracted driving – specifically, texting while driving – can go a long way toward explaining the rising number of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center examined crash records from every fatal collision tracked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2005 and 2010, finding that the rate of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities in which distracted driving was listed as a factor had increased significantly.
“The problem is that pedestrians and cyclists have little protection on the roadways,” said Fernando Wilson, Ph.D., an associate professor and one of the researchers at the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Many of the results of the study support Wilson’s assertion, such as the finding that distracted drivers were three times more likely to hit pedestrians on road shoulders and nearly twice as likely to hit them in marked crosswalks. Interestingly, both pedestrian and cyclist victims are more likely to be women than men, and are in more danger in full daylight and in rural areas.
Is the problem that driving in full daylight or in sparsely populated areas lends drivers a false sense of security when it comes to succumbing to distractions such as their cell phones? Are you more vigilant behind the wheel at night or while driving at night? Let us know here.