Pedestrian deaths are up 22 percent over 2014 levels according to a new report prepared for the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. The report’s author concluded that increased use of smartphones is to blame for the uptick.
Increased use of smartphones by whom? If you ask the Today Show, it’s distracted pedestrians who are to blame, a point they illustrated by showing a video clip of a person being struck by a driver while standing on the sidewalk. The whole segment seems utterly ridiculous, but then again, in a country where more than 90 percent of households own at least one vehicle and more than three-quarters of commuters drive to work, maybe the Today Show’s audience is actually buying it.
Here’s the thing: if you think distracted walking is what’s causing more people being killed, ask yourself what happens when two pedestrians collide. Usually nothing. But that’s not the case when you add cars and trucks to the mix. Motorized vehicles are an “amplifying agent in the coming together of a driver and a pedestrian”; when a pedestrian is struck with a vehicle, there’s a good chance the pedestrian is going to suffer — and the driver is going to walk away unscathed.
Certainly we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to avoid taking unnecessary risks with our own lives. But simply being aware of your surroundings isn’t much help when the driver of a two-ton vehicle jumps the curb and runs you over.