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Hewitt talks to WZZM about distracted walking dangers in Grand Rapids

May 10, 2018 by Steven M. Gursten

Attorney Brandon Hewitt talked with WZZM in Grand Rapids about the dangers that pedestrians face from distracted walking; what are the most dangerous days, times, and months?

Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt talks to WZZM-13 Grand Rapids about the dangers of distracted walking.

Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt recently talked to WZZM-13 TV in Grand Rapids about how distracted walking is becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians, especially as the number of the fatal pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents continues to climb.

This was Brandon’s fourth appearance in WZZM’s ongoing series called “Just Drive,” the goal of which is to encourage drivers to put down their phones, steer clear of distractions, focus all their attention on the road and … just drive.

Brandon explained that in 2016 and 2017 nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in accidents involving motor vehicles, which was the highest fatality level in 25 years.

Who are the culprits?

Distracted drivers, of course, Brandon noted. But “distractions” on the part of pedestrians is increasingly – and troublingly – becoming a significant contributing factor.

As Brandon observed:

“What if you have a distracted driver and a distracted pedestrian? It’s just too dangerous out there. I think we get so caught up in our daily lives or what’s on our phone, we don’t take seriously the dangers that cars present to us [as pedestrians] … We want [and need] to talk about distracted walking.”

Significantly, science provides plenty of support to substantiate Brandon’s concerns:

  • A 2012 study concluded that “the dual-task of walking while using a cell phone impacts executive function and working memory and influences gait to such a degree that it may compromise safety. Importantly, comparison of the two cell phone conditions demonstrates texting creates a significantly greater interference effect on walking than talking on a cell phone.”
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that: (1) “Teens and young adults, ages 16 to 25, were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting: Talking on the phone accounted for 69% of injuries between 2004 and 2010. Texting accounted for 9% of injuries during the same period”; (2) “Distracted pedestrians may have been a contributing factor in the 4,200 pedestrian deaths and 70,000 injuries in traffic crashes in 2010, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.”
  • A 2013 study from The Ohio State University concluded: (1) The number of pedestrians “treated in emergency rooms … for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking” “has more than doubled” between 2005 and 2010, “even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped during that time”; (2) “[Y]oung people aged 16 to 25 were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting.”

To learn more, please check out the video of Brandon’s most recent WZZM appearance below.

Brandon Hewitt tells WZZM what the most dangerous days, times and months are for distracted walking

Brandon explained to WZZM not only when it’s most dangerous for pedestrians to engage in distracted walking, but he also identified the types of distractions that pose the greatest risk to walkers.

Specifically, Brandon provided the following “distracted walking” statistics:

  • “Fridays are the most dangerous days” for distracted walking/distracted pedestrians.
  • 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm is the most dangerous time of day.
  • “October seems to be the most dangerous month.”
  • 40% of distraction-related pedestrian deaths do NOT occur at intersections.

Additionally, Brandon noted that even though phones are the primary distraction for pedestrians, there are four general types of distraction:

  • Visual
  • Manual
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive

Basically, Brandon explained, “anything that takes your attention from everything around you” is a dangerous distraction.

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