With stricter hang-up-and-drive laws now on the books, more and more of us acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous – and something we wouldn't do ourselves. But when it comes to burning shoe leather instead of rubber? A lot of us still say, "Let those thumbs fly!"
That's the upshot of our latest PEMCO Poll. In it, 42% of people said they talk, text, or read messages as they walk down the street (that's down from 53% in last year's poll). Of those, about one-third admit it distracts them.
We also asked about their thoughts on other pedestrians' phone fixation. A whopping 89% said they see pedestrians distracted by their phones and most, 85%, say they're at least a little bothered by it.
It seems to reveal a disconnect between how we perceive our own habits versus others'. For example, a mere 4% of us admit to being so engrossed in our phones that we've stood at an intersection without crossing when we're supposed to. But 10 times more people say they've witnessed that very behavior.
While we can debate the degree of our own walking-texting distraction, a heartbreaking nationwide trend is hard to dispute. The rate of pedestrian fatalities is growing faster than motorist deaths in recent years, breaching a 6,000-fatality high-water mark. As officials sort out the causes and how to address it, we all likely can agree on one point: Whether on foot or behind the wheel, we're safer when we keep our eyes on what's happening around us.
Read the complete PEMCO Northwest Poll, in which Seattle's FBK Research surveyed 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents.