In what seems like a typical occurrence these days, another study has come out suggesting that distracted driving is the force behind an otherwise inexplicable increase in the number of traffic fatalities over the last several years. The reason this increase is otherwise hard to explain is that cars have never been equipped with so many, or so advanced, technology designed to keep motorists safe.
Pedestrians have been particularly hard hit by the epidemic of distracted driving. The over 6,000 pedestrian fatalities reported in 2017 have been dubbed a crisis by at least one expert. While the expert explained that pedestrians have also been more distracted by their phones, texting and driving and the like have played a role in creating this traffic safety crisis.
Those who like to walk in and around the Portland area and enjoy the beautiful weather typical of this time should take particular heed when walking across or near a busy street. The same report suggested that the frequency of distracted driving peaks out in the summer months.
Experts who analyzed the data explained that this may be because kids and young adults are out of school. Moreover, many people are traveling to places, such as the Oregon coast, where they would not ordinarily travel during the winter months. Such travelers may rely on their devices for directions and other information they would not need when on a more familiar route.
One can only hope that, eventually, the message that distracted driving is both dangerous and illegal will sink in to the mindset of the general public. Until then, a Portlander who gets hurt in an auto-pedestrian accident may have to count on the fact that if their accident was caused by distracted driving, the negligent motorist may be held financially accountable.