It surprises no one that smartphones contribute to traffic accidents. These engaging devices have the power to distract not just drivers but also pedestrians. The end result is that distracted road users often create hazards for others. These include pedestrians who step out into the streets without looking or drivers who speed through red lights while texting.
In 2017, CNN identified smartphones as the top reason for a record-setting spike in pedestrian deaths. It reported that the 2016 estimates showed higher numbers than America has seen in the 40 years it has kept records of pedestrian deaths.
The danger of smartphones
When staring at a phone, drivers can cover a great distance with their eyes completely off the road. Sometimes, this occurs without mishaps. Other times, they may end up striking another vehicle, a cyclist or a pedestrian. Of all the types of road users, pedestrians have the lowest level of protection from impact.
The other two culprits
In 2020, CNN reported that pedestrian deaths remained higher than they had ever been in more than three decades. The headline identified warm weather and SUVs as the top contributing factors, alongside cellphones. In the body of the article, CNN also pointed to the use of drugs and alcohol, while driving, as risk factors.
The pedestrian statistics
CNN reports that, in 2019, more than 6,500 pedestrians died in traffic accidents. The number has not been this high since 1988. Pedestrian deaths also make up 17% of road fatalities, which has not happened since 1982. As one would expect, pedestrians face the greatest risks at night. Pedestrian deaths climbed by 67% at night from 2009 to 2018.