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We rarely are more vulnerable than when walking in urban areas, crossing busy streets and negotiating traffic. And we all are pedestrians from time to time, so it's important to pay attention to what is going on around us.
Distracted walking incidents are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. According to a Governors Highway Safety Association report,
nearly 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles in 2017. This number mirrors 2016 fatalities. Total pedestrian deaths in 2016, both traffic- and nontraffic-related, were 7,330, according to Injury Facts.
We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety – and the safety of others – at risk. The solution: Stop using phones while walking, and not just in crosswalks and intersections. Over half of distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings, whether they’re new or familiar.
communities are implementing measures to become more "walkable," like adding more paths and traffic-calming measures, there still is a long way to go to keep pedestrians safe. Malls surrounded by parking lots, few sidewalks, blind intersections and high traffic areas all contribute to pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
While pedestrian-vehicle injuries are the
fifth leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19, according to SafeKids.org, no age group is immune. Here are a few tips from NHTSA and NSC for children and adults of all ages:
Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. At the National Safety Council, we don't believe in accidents. Please join us in doing everything you can to prevent senseless injuries and deaths.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced this 20 minute video, “Getting There Safely,” for anyone who walks.
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