OK, not the walking dead. The walking distracted.
The next time you're waiting at a stoplight during rush hour, take a good look at the pedestrians crossing in front of you. Eyes down. Oblivious to their surroundings. One overwhelming urge: Must. Check. Phone.
In our latest PEMCO Poll, only about one-third of pedestrians admit to sometimes being distracted on sidewalks and in crosswalks. But those drivers sitting at the lights? Pshaw! Nine out of 10 say they see distracted walkers ambling past, and the majority – 77% – say they're at least a bit peeved by the lack of pedestrian prudence.
In the Poll, 42% of pedestrians said they talk on their phones, 36% read or text, and 28% listen to music or podcasts. All those percentages are up from our last Poll in 2014.
And sadly, so are nationwide injury and fatality statistics. Pedestrian deaths climbed 11% over 2015 and 22% over 2014. Phones get a big share of the blame, combined with more drivers on the road and – in a sad, ironic twist – more people trying to walk to improve their health or benefit the environment.
The upshot? Just as states are getting more serious about convincing people to "hang up and drive," maybe it's time to "hang up and walk," too.
Read full results of our distracted walking and jaywalking poll of 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents by Seattle's FBK Research.