It is likely unsurprising to many that smartphones possess a danger to drivers and pedestrians alike, but the extent of it might startle some. The estimates in 2016 showed higher numbers of pedestrian deaths than the nation has seen in the 40 years that it began recordkeeping pedestrian deaths.
But why is this happening? And how to smartphones factor into this increasingly high number of deaths?
Smartphones and distraction
According to CNN, smartphones do hold responsibility for an increase in pedestrian deaths. In particular, they point out a smartphone’s ability to distract drivers and pedestrians alike, stating that distracted drivers are much less likely to notice pedestrians and distracted pedestrians pay less attention to vehicles.
When a driver is on the freeway, they can cover the span of a football field in three seconds. Though this is less likely in residential or city areas, a driver can still go a fair distance in the time it takes to check just one message. This can sometimes result in the driver crashing into objects, other vehicles and people. Unfortunately, the pedestrians have the least protection.
Statistics of pedestrian deaths
In 2019, CNN reports that 6,500 pedestrians died due to traffic accidents, which is higher than the number has been since 1988. They made 17 percent of all roadway fatalities too, a number which has not happened since 1982. Between 2009 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities at night climbed a huge 67 percent. And the study revealed smartphones to be one of the primary causes for these unprecedented rises.
Driver distraction in general often causes a lot of safety concerns among drivers and unprotected, vulnerable pedestrians. But smartphones introduce an element of danger that can no longer go ignored.