A 59-year-old man was killed in a car accident when a vehicle struck him as he crossed the street. According to a news report in The Athens Banner-Herald, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred on Atlanta Highway near the Bogart Pantry convenience store. Officials believe the victim may have been talking on his cellphone when he tried to cross the road. An eastbound vehicle driven by a 23-year-old Statham woman struck him. She has not been charged for the crash.
It is unclear from the report if the victim of this tragic crash was talking on the phone or if his cellphone use is relevant to the crash. Investigators will have to determine why the driver was unable to avoid the collision and if the pedestrian carelessly stepped into traffic at an unsafe time and location.
A recent nationwide study conducted at The Ohio State University found that over 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to receive treatment for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking in the year 2010. This is a growing problem considering that only 256 people required emergency medical attention after being hurt walking while on the phone back in 2005. According to a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo, distracted walking results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving.
Why is distracted walking so dangerous? When speaking on the phone, you mind may not be focused on your surroundings and you may not hear approaching traffic. When texting while walking, your eyes are only focused on your phone and may not even notice that you are in danger until it is too late. If you are playing a game or reading posts on a social media site, you are not looking at where you are going. You can trip on debris, stumble over cracks in the walkway or even step into traffic.
Victims of distracted walking often sprains, strains and bone fractures if they trip on the sidewalk. If they step into traffic, their injuries may include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and even death.
In Georgia, there is a ban on all cell phone use for bus drivers and for novice drivers. There is also a ban on texting for all drivers. There are not, however, any laws in place to deter pedestrians from distracted walking. Please remember to focus on your surroundings and to stay away from traffic when you are not able to focus on your surroundings. If you have been injured in a car accident, please contact our Atlanta personal injury law firm to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.