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Boston (UPI) Jun 11, 2013
Most pedestrians admit to dangerous, distracting use of their smartphones when crossing streets even though they are aware of the risks, a U.S. survey found.
A survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance found 60 percent of pedestrians walk while texting, emailing, talking on the phone or listening to music even though 70 percent said they consider those behaviors to be dangerous.
Such distractions may have been a contributing factor in the 4,280 pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes in 2010, a 4 percent increase from the previous year as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"So much attention has been paid, and rightly so, to distracted driving that we have ignored the fact that distracted walking and crossing can be just as risky," said David Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety.
"From an early age, we all learn how to safely cross the street -- look both ways, wait for the walk sign -- but as adults many of us seem to forget those simple rules."
A majority of respondents in the survey, 55 percent, said they consider texting or emailing while crossing a street to be the most dangerous activity when walking, more than those who feel running across a street to beat oncoming traffic (40 percent) or jaywalking (24 percent) to be the most dangerous, a Liberty Mutual release said Tuesday.
The survey was conducted by phone with 1,004 adults ages 18-65 from April 1-10. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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