Walking while texting can put pedestrians at risk, Liberty Mutual survey says

Graphic included with Liberty Mutual’s press release.
Graphic included with Liberty Mutual’s press release.Credit:

Once pedestrians flourished stout sticks and walking canes; now thanks to smartphones and mobile devices, many text while they stroll, and that can lead to distracted street-crossing, a new survey finds.

The survey is from Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance. According to the Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Safety Survey, 60 percent of pedestrians walk while texting, e-mailing, talking on the phone, or listening to music despite the fact that 70 percent of respondents consider those behaviors to be dangerous. 

In 2010, there were 4,280 pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes, a 4 percent increase from the previous year, said Liberty Mutual, citing industry data.

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The press release about the survey included a statement from David Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety.

‘The reality is that neither drivers nor pedestrians seem to actually realize the dangers of their distracted behaviors,’’ Melton said. ‘‘The fact that drivers and pedestrians continue to engage in dangerous habits, despite claiming to recognize the risk, suggests that the majority of Americans are taking a cavalier, ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude.  As the weather warms up and we head into the summer driving season, pedestrians and drivers need to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads, whether on foot or behind the wheel.’’

Liberty Mutual said it commissioned the survey from Ketchum Global Research & Analytics, which conducted a nationwide phone survey of 1,004 adults from April 1 through April 10.

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