Pedestrian mobile phone use can be as dangerous as cell phone use while driving. While the dangers of using a cell phone while driving have received attention over the past several years, the risks associated with distracted walking can be just as serious. In collisions with cars, pedestrians are always the losers. Studies show that a pedestrian hit at 40 mph has an 85% chance of dying.

Cell Phone Related Injuries Doubled Since 2005

Emergency room data compiled from 100 hospitals around the country and maintained by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reveals that pedestrian cell phone-related injuries have more than doubled since 2005. Pedestrian injuries related to cell phones ranged from falling off walkways or bridges to walking in front of moving traffic. The study found that in 2010, 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for cell-phone related incidents, as opposed to a mere 559 in 2004. The age group most at risk for cell-phone related injuries while walking is adults under 30, and chiefly those between the ages of 16 and 25.

Drivers Can Prevent Auto Pedestrian Accidents

Distracted walking is an awareness problem. In an age of rapid communication and instant gratification from technology, cell phone users need to be convinced to put their phones away as they walk. Until then, as a driver you have rules to follow to prevent automobile pedestrian accidents.

A Crosswalk at Every Signal

Under Oregon law, there is a crosswalk at every signal, whether marked or unmarked.

Crosswalks also exist between intersections (mid-block) if they are marked with white painted lines.

You must stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which you are traveling (or into which you are turning) and the next lane.

Do not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. A stopped car may be a clue that a pedestrian is crossing. When stopping for a crosswalk on a multi-lane road, you should stop about 3 feet before the crosswalk, to avoid blocking visibility to a driver in a second lane.

When stopping at an intersection, do not block the crosswalk. This forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle and puts them in a dangerous situation.

Turning at a Signal

When turning at a signal, you must stop for the pedestrian, who must clear the lane into which you are turning and at least six feet of the next lane before you can proceed.

Your Lane plus the Next Lane at Any Other Crosswalk

At any other crosswalk, you need to stop for the pedestrian, who must clear the lane in which your vehicle is traveling or turning and at least the next lane , before you can proceed.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reminds you to be prepared to stop and yield, no matter who has the right of way. Saving a life is worth your time.