In our last post we discussed a serious pedestrian accident which occurred last week in Lincoln Park. Pedestrian accidents are a fact of life in Chicago and most often attributable to distracted drivers. Hospitals have noted a sharp increase in pedestrian injuries, and cellphone use seems to be an increasingly large contributing factor to these crashes.
Smartphones distract both drivers and pedestrians. Road safety advocates in Delaware recently addressed this phenomenon with a public awareness campaign consisting of signs that say: “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.”
Philadelphia public officials tried to combat distracted walking by creating an “e-lane” outside some downtown office buildings as an April Fool’s Day joke. The lane was a taped off area which allowed pedestrians distracted by phones to avoid running into others,
“The sad part is we had people who, once they realized we were going to take the e-lane away, got mad because they thought it was really helpful to not have people get in their way while they were walking and texting,” said the city’s deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities.
Distracted walking has also been linked to several serious train accidents. There is video of a Philadelphia-area man who fell into the tracks at a train stop platform. Fortunately, no trains were coming at the time.
The University of Maryland also recently released a study which found 116 cases involving pedestrians who were hit by trains or vehicles while wearing headphones. Half of the cases involved trains and two-thirds of the cases involved males under 30.