According to the Los Angeles Times, the Department of Transportation has recently made grants available to help cities fight against the rising number of pedestrian deaths. An estimated $2 million in grants will be handed out to states that apply for them and that plan to use the money to reduce pedestrian accident dangers.
One of the potential uses for the grant money, the Times reports, is to combat “distracted walking.” Our Orange County injury lawyers know that distracted walking has become a major issue in recent years with more people on smartphones and not paying attention to where they are going. Hopefully, cities that apply for and use the grant money to curb this dangerous behavior can help to make a difference in bringing pedestrian accidents down.
Distracted Walking Education Could Have a Big Impact on Protecting Pedestrians
When the Department of Transportation made its recent announcement about new efforts to fight distracted driving, Secretary Anthony Foxx said that both distracted driving and distracted walking have had an impact on the ability to keep people safe. The distractions to pedestrians could come from a variety of causes, including walking and texting; walking while listening to music; or even walking while on drugs. All of these behaviors that take the focus off the roads have, according to Foxx, contributed to the increase in pedestrian accidents.
Unfortunately, the dangers of distracted walking are readily apparent in at least one Southern California city: Los Angeles. Along with New York and Chicago, Los Angeles has the highest percentage of pedestrians killed relative to total traffic fatalities. In Los Angeles, as many as 42 percent of motor vehicle deaths involve pedestrians. In New York, this number is higher at 51 percent while in Chicago it is slightly lower at 30 percent.
These cities may have high pedestrian death rates, in part, because they simply have more pedestrians and are friendlier to walkers. Urban cities, in general, are more likely to be locations where pedestrian deaths happen. In fact, the Department of Transportation shows that as many as three out of every four pedestrian deaths happen in an urban location.
However, Los Angeles is not especially known as an easily “walkable,” city, and it may not be the number of pedestrians contributing to the high death rate as much as it is the dangerous behavior on the part of pedestrians and drivers who don’t pay careful attention on the roads.
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that pedestrians are to blame, at least to some extent, for a large number of injures in 2011. Over the course of that year, more than 1,5000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms throughout the United States after they sustained injuries while using cell phones or other portable electronic devices.
As more and more people turn to digital forms of entertainment and as new devices such as Google Glass come onto the market place, it is likely that the number of pedestrians hurt due to distractions will continue to increase. The DOT, however, is trying to change that with education grants. The 22 cities with pedestrian accident deaths that exceed the national average will have until August 30 to apply for a grant that can provide funds to educate the public on distracted walking dangers.
If you have been injured in an Orange County vehicle accident, contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo. Call 800-814-4771.