Posted in Personal Injury on March 13, 2020
Walking around San Antonio can come with significant risks. As a pedestrian, you are at the mercy of vehicle drivers. Distracted, reckless, negligent and careless drivers often put pedestrians in danger. The power to prevent accidents also rests in your hands as a pedestrian, however. You can reduce your risk of getting into a collision with a motorist by paying attention to where you are going. Distracted walking is often behind pedestrian-vehicle collisions throughout Texas.
Statistics of Pedestrians Involved in Accidents While Texting
In 2017, 615 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in Texas. This was a decrease from the number of pedestrian deaths in 2016, but it was still higher than in most other states. The pedestrians in many of these collisions might have had the ability to prevent them. Pedestrians often put themselves at risk by engaging in distracted walking activities and behaviors. Distracted walking can greatly increase the odds of a car hitting you in a busy city such as San Antonio.
- Texting and walking
- Talking on the phone
- Checking emails
- Taking photos or videos
- Scrolling through social media
- Chatting with friends
- Listening to music or podcasts
- Reading or doing homework
- Eating or drinking while walking
Any type of multitasking while walking could reduce a pedestrian’s sense of what is happening around him or her. Cellphones are a particularly dangerous hazard. A University of Washington study found that around one in three pedestrians use their cellphones while walking across busy streets. Texting and walking can absorb a pedestrian’s mental attention, distracting him or her from the present situation. It can also take the pedestrian’s eyes away from the road or crosswalk while he or she reads or writes a text message.
Can You Recover Compensation If You Are at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident in Texas?
In Texas, pedestrians do not always bear the right-of-way. Like motor vehicle drivers, they must obey traffic control devices such as signals at crosswalks. If a pedestrian does not have a green light or Walk signal, he or she must wait to cross the road. Pedestrians also cannot cross at places other than marked intersections or crosswalks (jaywalking). If a pedestrian breaks one of these rules or otherwise causes a collision – such as by texting and walking – he or she may lose the right to file an injury claim against the driver in Texas. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer will be able to determine if you were partly at fault for your accident or not.
Texas is a state with modified comparative negligence laws. This law means the courts will not bar you from financial recovery even if you were at fault for your accident. If an investigation finds you bear fault for your accident because you were walking while distracted, this could reduce your financial recovery by your percentage of fault.
If texting and walking gives you 35% of the fault for the collision, for instance, you would receive 35% less of a recovery award from the defendant. If you surpass Texas’ 50% threshold, however, you will forfeit any right to recovery. Hire a pedestrian accident attorney to represent you during an injury claim if you believe you could bear fault for texting and walking. A lawyer can help you protect your right to compensation.
Dangers of Texting and Walking
Texting and walking can expose a pedestrian to an even greater risk of an accident than usual. The UW study found that distracted pedestrians took an average of 1.5 seconds longer to cross the road than nondistracted pedestrians. This second and a half could be all it takes for a motor vehicle to cross a pedestrian’s path.
Furthermore, pedestrians who were texting and walking were less likely to look both ways before crossing the road. Unlike many other forms of distraction, texting pulls the walker’s eyes away from the road or sidewalk as well as presenting a cognitive distraction. Texting can distract a pedestrian enough to cause him or her to make deadly mistakes, such as stepping off a curb when he or she does not have the right-of-way or when it is not safe to do so.