California City Bans Texting and Walking: A Step Too Far? And How to Protect Yourself While Walking City Streets.
There’s no denying that texting has invaded nearly all aspects of our lives. There’s nowhere people won’t take out their cell phones and disappear into their own texting universe, clackety-clacking away while the world carries on without them. It can be amusing sometimes; rude others; and frankly, DANGEROUS often.
A 2017 report released by the Governors Highway Association found that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic jumped 11 percent from the previous year, to nearly 6,000. That’s the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever, and the highest number in more than two decades. Those fatality numbers increased 22% from 2014. Furthermore, pedestrian deaths now account for fifteen percent of total motor vehicle deaths. As Pasadena accident attorneys, we have seen the sharp increase in pedestrian-related accidents and injuries over the last several years. The main culprit according to experts:
While distracted, texting drivers are a well-known, rising cause of traffic crashes, there is an alarming number of pedestrians, too, who like a zombie horde, are oblivious to traffic around them.
Faced with what it believes is a clear and present danger, the city of Montclair, a San Gabriel valley suburb east of Los Angeles, recently enacted a law that bans texting and walking. Pedestrians can’t text, talk on the phone, or listen to music or podcasts with two earbuds in while in a crosswalk. Anyone caught violating the law will be fined $100 for the first violation, up to $200 for the second violation (if it’s within 12 months) and up to $500 for every violation after (if it’s within 12 months).
But are more laws the answer? Is regulating pedestrian conduct a step too far? Some consider the new law much too invasive. Does the danger warrant this level of intrusion into our daily lives? If the government can regulate how we walk on public streets, some worry, what CAN’T they regulate?
On the other hand, texting walkers is reaching epidemic proportions and are straining public health resources. Some argue that information, education and public awareness campaigns, rather than criminalization, is the answer. Regardless, this should be a wake-up call to all of us that texting while walking, and particularly, while crossing intersections, is a serious danger. The alarming increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrian is proof positive of that fact. In the San Gabriel Valley, including Pasadena and West Covina, the rates of pedestrian-involved accidents has skyrockets in recent years. As Pasadena accident attorneys, we can tell you that many of the accidents we see could have been avoided had the pedestrians not been looking at their phones when the accidents happened.
Take Steps to Avoid Injuries While Walking
There is no question that we are all vulnerable when walking on urban streets, texting or not. It’s important to pay attention to what is happening around us. There are some concrete steps you can take to limit your risk. Most obviously, stop using phones while walking, and not just in intersections and crosswalks. Dangers lurk on the sidewalks in many forms: as we cross driveways in and out of building and parking lots; from other pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the sidewalks with us; and from potholes, uneven sidewalks and other unexpected trip and slip hazards. Just put the phone down, pay attention and enjoy your walk!
Here are more tips from NHTSA and the National Safety Council for children and adults of all ages:
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
- Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
- Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
- Don’t wear headphones while walking
- Never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking
- If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
- Never rely on a car to stop
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
- Only cross at designated crosswalks
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
- Walk in groups
Regardless of how you feel about laws banning texting and walking, we all need to take our personal safety into our own hands and our phones out of our hands while walking.
Have you or a loved one been in an injury accident? As a pedestrian or a driver? Don’t rely on the insurance company to do the right thing. Get in touch with Pasadena Accident Attorneys, Manibog Law, today to schedule your FREE consultation with offices in Long Beach, Pasadena and West Covina. Let’s discuss how we can get you back on the road to health and well being. Call 1-800-MANIBOG.