A recent online survey conducted in June 2016 by Harris Poll on behalf of PCI among over 2,000 U.S. adults shows that the U.S. cities that are considered the most walkable may also be the most dangerous for pedestrians. When asked which U.S. cities they might expect to witness distracted pedestrians, three in four Americans said New York City; also the city considered to be the most walkable (57 percent). Other walkable cities where high numbers of distracted pedestrians are thought to be found strolling are:
- Washington, D.C. (26 percent walkable; 41 percent distracted)
- Las Vegas (32 percent walkable; 26 percent distracted)
- Chicago (19 percent walkable; 31 percent distracted), and San Francisco (27 percent walkable; 27 percent distracted).
“Distracted walking could be as dangerous as distracted driving,” said Robert Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president personal lines policy. “Urban areas are now faced with the growing threat of pedestrians glued to smartphones, putting themselves as well as motorists in greater danger.”
State and federal policymakers are weighing solutions for preventing deaths and injuries linked to driver and pedestrian smartphone distractions. While legislation may take time, PCI and auto insurers are pushing for the immediate benefits of education and awareness as to these expanding dangers.
“Multi-tasking while walking through downtown might seem like a time saver, but you’re putting yourself in danger. Pedestrians on smartphones take longer to cross the street, and even if they check for cars before crossing, all too often they turn their attention back to their phones while still in the middle of the intersection,” added Passmore.
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to accidents caused by smartphone distractions. Research by Safe Kids Worldwide, reveals that one in five teens admit they cross streets while distracted by a mobile device. A recent AAA study also found that the 15 to 19 year old demographic has the largest proportion of distracted drivers. The research shows that teens are distracted nearly a quarter of the time they’re behind the wheel and they are four times more likely than adults to get into crashes while using their cell phone.
“As a parent, these statistics are terrifying, which is why we must work together to educate our loved ones to put the phone down and pay attention. It’s up to all of us to practice safe driving habits and to keep our eyes on the road,” said Passmore.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Property Casualty Insurers Association from June 8-10, 2016 among 2,025 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.