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Gursten tells WXYZ texting & driving pedestrian deaths up 11%

May 17, 2017 by Steven M. Gursten

There have been nearly 200 pedestrian deaths alone in Michigan. For something so preventable, these texting and driving statistics are inexcusable

Imagine walking the entire distance of a football field with your eyes closed.

Now, imagine driving a car that same distance of a football field — 100 yards — with your eyes closed. That’s what is happening when you are driving a car and you look down to read a text.

The University of Utah made similar conclusions about the dangers of using a cellphone while driving:

“[C]ell phone use was associated with a 4-fold increase in the likelihood of getting into an accident and that this increased risk was comparable to that observed when driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit. … [D]riving performance was more impaired when drivers were conversing on a cell phone than when these same drivers were legally intoxicated.”

Texting and driving, and other forms of distracted driving are behind the Governors Highway Safety Association’s recent report that projects an 11% rise in pedestrian fatalities. This includes approximately  200 people who are hit by cars as pedestrians in Michigan alone. Many of these pedestrian-auto crashes involve children.

These texting and driving statistics aren’t just deeply troubling. They’re inexcusable because every death and serious injury caused by someone who is looking down at a cellphone to send or read a text message while driving is also completely preventable. As I said to WXYZ-Channel 7’s Kim Russell, I’ve seen in my own auto accident law practice that distracted driving — and distracted walking by pedestrians who are looking at their phones instead of at traffic around them — have now reached almost epidemic levels. I’ve been an accident attorney for nearly 25 years, and we’ve never before seen these levels of distracted driving.

Now we are seeing the deadly consequences, which include a big spike in pedestrian-motor vehicle deaths.

And it is going to get worse. We’re raising speed limits in Michigan — at the same time that we’re also seeing more people texting and driving and subsequently causing car accidents.

And running over pedestrians.

How do we stop these crashes caused by texting and driving? Put the cellphone down. That text message can wait. When you are driving a car, there is only one thing you should be doing — paying attention.

Pedestrian safety: Why are so many pedestrians being hit by cars?

Our attorneys have come across too many tragic instances of texting and driving accidents caused by driver inattention. These include cases involving a 50-year-old man who was hit by a truck and a 3-year-old girl who was killed by a distracted driver who was texting while driving.

Pedestrian safety also means not looking at your phone when you are walking across the street. Michigan Traffic Crash Facts states that of the 2,482 pedestrians involved in crashes in 2015, 82% were injured.

Michigan Auto Law has our annual Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Scholarship for Michigan high school juniors and seniors. It’s named for Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, who tragically died in a cellphone-related automobile crash in 2010. The scholarship has been created in her honor to inspire change in teens who drive distracted and help prevent car accidents.

In short, learn from texting and driving statistics.

Don’t become one.

If you have been injured as a pedestrian and hit by a car, our attorneys are here to answer your questions. Call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 968-1001 or use our consultation form.

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