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Survey: Distracted Walkers Persist, Despite Knowing Risks

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Liberty Mutual Distracted Walking Infographic

Liberty Mutual Distracted Walking Infographic.

A new survey finds that most pedestrians believe it is more important to engage in distracted behaviors while walking than it is to watch out for traffic while crossing the street, as Steve Annear reports for Boston Daily. The Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Survey, released on Monday, says that 60% of pedestrians surveyed walk while texting, emailing, talking on the phone, or listening to music, even though 70% of those people believe those are risky things to do, according to a Liberty Mutual press release.

Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed the phone survey of 1,004 adults throughout the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 65. Braun Research conducted the survey from April 1 through April 10, 2013, which has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

As Liberty Mutual Group points out, distracted walking may have been a factor in the 4,280 pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents in 2010, which was 4% higher than the previous year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

And a 2011 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 1,152 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after they were injured while walking and using a cell phone or other electronic device, Liberty Mutual notes.

On the other side of the equation, namely drivers, the survey found that three out of five drivers say that talking on their cell phone while driving is dangerous for pedestrians, however 70% still admit to doing so.

The press release quotes David Melton, a safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and its managing director of global safety:

The reality is that neither drivers nor pedestrians seem to actually realize the dangers of their distracted behaviors… The fact that drivers and pedestrians continue to engage in dangerous habits, despite claiming to recognize the risk, suggests that the majority of Americans are taking a cavalier, ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude. As the weather warms up and we head into the summer driving season, pedestrians and drivers need to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads, whether on foot or behind the wheel.

In a post titled “Study Finds Distracted Walkers Risk Injury and Death,” this blog reported last December that a study found that deaths of distracted pedestrians are increasing. That study was conducted in the summer of 2012 by researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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