Our Northwest

Distracted pedestrians risking their safety

Wednesday, June 18, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Northwest streets are lined with lots of pedestrians oblivious to their surroundings, according to our new PEMCO Poll.
And you’re likely one of them, based on the numbers.
That’s because 88% of local drivers say they see distracted pedestrians. And the biggest distractions?

  • 90% say it’s cell phones
  • 86% see people texting
  • 72% see pedestrians listening with earbuds or headphones.

   The funny thing is, as often happens with our polls, it’s a case of “the other guy, not me.” Two-thirds – 67% – of drivers say they themselves are rarely or never distracted when they’re pedestrians.
   PEMCO is concerned because we know that distracted pedestrians have a higher risk for getting whacked by cars.
And we’re especially concerned about younger people. Our poll showed that those under 35 have the highest risk, because nearly half of them admitted they’re often or sometimes distracted. Many specifically blame smart phones.
Then there’s another type of “distraction danger.” We’ve hosted personal-safety experts here at PEMCO who tell us to be careful walking the nearby neighborhoods after dark. Appearing distracted is dangerous, they say. You should walk briskly, with a purpose, keys ready, eyes constantly scanning your surroundings. That lessens the chance of an assault.
The worst thing you can do is leisurely amble along, head down, eyes glued to your feet – or your phone.
Read our news release, and take an informal version of the poll to see how your own answers compare with others.

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