Smartphones likely to blame for unprecedented rise in pedestrian fatalities

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Pedestrian deaths in the US over the past two years have skyrocketed more than 22 percent according to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. While the exact reason for the increase isn’t known, one contributor may be the rapidly growing use of smartphones while walking and driving.

The association estimates that there were 5,997 pedestrian fatalities in 2016 compared to just 5,376 a year earlier and 4,910 in 2014.

Richard Retting, a traffic engineer with Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and author of the report, notes that the increases are unprecedented and quite honestly, shocking. He’s been in the highway safety field for 35 years, he said, adding that they don’t see record increases – let alone consecutive years of record increases.

I think most (me included) would agree with the theory that increased smartphone usage is behind the sharp uptick.

Smartphones have fostered a culture in which people are always focused on where they are not. The issue has prompted several cities to enact measures such as embedding traffic lights into sidewalks and crosswalks to help protect pedestrians from themselves.

Further compounding the matter is the fact that pedestrians aren’t always to blame as distracted drivers have arguably caused even more accidents. It’d be easy to blame the vehicles themselves but with autonomous features being introduced at a rapid clip, cars are only becoming safer to operate.

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
Eh, I think people are just getting dumber and dumberer. Lack of awareness (because of cellphones) is just a place to focus that stupidity lol
 

Rippleman

TS Evangelist
While it is partially true, I would suggest it simply also would include a larger population of walkers as well as larger driver base.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
While it is partially true, I would suggest it simply also would include a larger population of walkers as well as larger driver base.
This right here. Other sites reporting on this have pointed out that car traffic has been increasing steadily this past few years, through the economic recovery and lower gas prices. Many have also pointed out that walking has become more popular.

More cars+more walkers=more pedestrians killed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lazer

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Sadly, until they criminalize texting and cell phone usage while driving it simply isn't going to stop and even then, there are a lot of users that will take their chances, hoping not to get caught. It's going to take some aggressive work on cellphone and automakers to curb the use of cell phones and passengers will probably face the same kind of crackdown as the actual drivers.

One of the smartest idea's I have heard to date is a device that renders the phone useless once the engine is running and the vehicle rolls faster than 5 mph. If you get a phone call on the road, you'll have to pull off the road and stop before you can take or return the call, of course the ideal approach is you return the call to prevent people whipping into the emergency lane and slamming on their brakes.

Life and people got along just fine before the cell phone care around. It's going to take a lot of painful re-training, but we are capable of learning and this one is going to take a lot of blood, sweat & tears to get it through and it will never be able to stop because there is always going to be a next generation of new drivers.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Eh, I think people are just getting dumber and dumberer. Lack of awareness (because of cellphones) is just a place to focus that stupidity lol
I agree... especially as you used the word "dumberer" and no one batted an eyelash... apparently stupidity can be a fatal disease... with no cure in sight :(
 
  • Like
Reactions: Makson and petert

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Irresponsible mobile device usage is definitely a huge contributing factor but so is overpopulation. A mere two years ago the roads weren't as chaotic as they are now and things will only get worse. The roads are now free of those 10 000 irresponsible mobile addicted users but the sad part is that they'll be replaced by 20 000 more of their kind in the blink of an eye. Personally I feel zero for them, they're only a statistic, it's the innocent that are unfortunately caught up in it that makes it tragic.
 

Nobina

TS Evangelist
It has nothing to do with driving. Problem is people aren't taught how to behave reasonably in life and not use them while driving. I have a smartphone and I'm not gonna use it while driving a car because I am responsible and sane like many others. Driving schools and schools can't teach you that. That is something parents should teach you at early age and you're gonna realise that over the course of your life. Those who use smartphones while driving carelessly surely do other dumb stuff too like charge their iPhones while taking a bath.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Godel

noel24

TS Evangelist
Video games. That must have been video games. Especially PC edition of GTAV. When in doubt, blaim video games...
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
I remember my dad, who was a car salesman from the 60's to the late 90's, went to a trade show
once in the late 60's/early 70's and the German car companies were wondering why people were
wanting cup holders in their automobiles. They couldn't figure out how people were going to
drive with both hands on the wheel and drink coffee/soda? They couldn't grasp the concept of
one handed driving. Boy, they would REALLY be shocked today!
People eating, watching TV, having sex while driving etc.
When I learned to drive, you had a school sponsored drivers education program that anyone that
wanted to drive, when they reached 15 1/2 could take. The drivers tests were harder also.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Reehahs

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I remember my dad, who was a car salesman from the 60's to the late 90's, went to a trade show
once in the late 60's/early 70's and the German car companies were wondering why people were
wanting cup holders in their automobiles. They couldn't figure out how people were going to
drive with both hands on the wheel and drink coffee/soda? They couldn't grasp the concept of
one handed driving. Boy, they would REALLY be shocked today!
People eating, watching TV, having sex while driving etc.
When I learned to drive, you had a school sponsored drivers education program that anyone that
wanted to drive, when they reached 15 1/2 could take. The drivers tests were harder also.
And they had to walk to school 10 miles a day.... uphill both ways!

Yes, the "good old days" were so far superior... wait... no they weren't... cost of progress is id1ots not being able to cope with it...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Makson
M

MikeSmithFL

"skyrocketed more than 22 percent" - hey, maybe google the word skyrocket? 22 percent is remarkable, but far from "skyrocketed". While you're at it try looking up "hyperbole" and "clickbait" and see if you can relate them to the number of unsubscribers.
 

Godel

TS Addict
I've said it before that driving while using a cell phone should be treated like low range drink driving. The penalty should include being taken off the street (suspended) for a short time at least.

And crossing the street while looking at your cell phone should be regarded as jay walking, and fined as well.
 

Makson

TS Booster
Irresponsible nitwits missing a section of brain with which responsible people have, and continually use to sensibly perform thoughts and actions.
 

Emexrulsier

TS Evangelist
"skyrocketed more than 22 percent" - hey, maybe google the word skyrocket? 22 percent is remarkable, but far from "skyrocketed". While you're at it try looking up "hyperbole" and "clickbait" and see if you can relate them to the number of unsubscribers.
Maybe you need to google "useless waste of space" ?


Anyways if retards are getting hit by cars etc because they are on their phones than fair enough its a shame, but then we don't really need these people in our gene pool so all is good. For drivers using phones at the wheel though this is also retarded but because it has the potential to affect someone else's life then it needs clamping down on.

In the UK they have just recently change the law on anyone caught using a mobile phone whilst driving. As such a new driver in their first two years of driving would immediately loose their license, other drivers would be given 6 points which remain valid for 3 years. If a driver hits 12 points then they loose their license. The fact it is twice as much points as some speeding fines shows how seriousness of phone usage as a motor vehicle driver.
 
Last edited:

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I think the headline is misleading. Certainly, smartphones are not to blame. What is to blame is stupidity while using a smartphone imo. Or should I say that thinking the laws of physics do not apply to a person using a smartphone.
 
C

Chilkoot XXIV

Eh, I think people are just getting dumber and dumberer. Lack of awareness (because of cellphones) is just a place to focus that stupidity lol
I agree... especially as you used the word "dumberer" and no one batted an eyelash... apparently stupidity can be a fatal disease... with no cure in sight :(
Harsh at best, yet somehow refreshing. Three huzzahs.
 

christiangeli

TS Member
The autonomous car is the social solution LOL
because people are stupid and the only fix is to let doing it by robots LOL
judgement day are coming :)
 

Emexrulsier

TS Evangelist
The autonomous car is the social solution LOL
because people are stupid and the only fix is to let doing it by robots LOL
judgement day are coming :)
I wonder how many car crashes there are in the world compared to the number of applications and computers that also crash world wide? You know an autonomous car just about to give way at a crossing then it blue screens and slams forward destroying everything in its path. This is the futures bright, the futures red :D