SEATTLE – We’ve all seen distracted drivers on the road,
but the latest poll from PEMCO Insurance sheds light on another dangerous
distraction – oblivious pedestrians who are more focused on their phones than
their potentially hazardous surroundings.
PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll finds that Washington and Oregon drivers are
quick to identify distracted pedestrians, yet most claim to be attentive
walkers themselves. In fact, at least eight out of 10 drivers in the Northwest
say they see distracted pedestrians at least some of the time, but two-thirds
in both states say they’re personally rarely distracted while on foot.
no surprise, the vast majority of those who witness distracted pedestrians
blame handheld technology. Most see pedestrians who are chatting on the phone,
reading or sending messages, or using earbuds or headphones.
among these same respondents, few admit to being distracted by their phone.
According to the poll, most – nearly half of all respondents – say that when
they’re distracted, it’s because they’re talking to a fellow pedestrian.
all seen this behavior. Just drive through the intersections around PEMCO at
lunch time, and chances are you’ll see a fair share of professionals focused on
something other than crossing the street,” said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO
spokesperson. “Whether they’re distracted by a phone call or they’re in a
conversation with another pedestrian, there’s still risk of getting hit because
respondents, people under age 35, are among those most likely to fess up to
being a distracted pedestrian. Nearly half of young people polled in Washington
and Oregon say they’re sometimes or even often distracted, and many attribute
it to multitasking with their handheld devices.
drivers tend to notice technology distractions, as well. Nearly nine out of 10
drivers age 55 and older say they see pedestrians, regardless of age,
distracted by talking on their cell phone, reading or texting from it, or
listening to headphones.
is more than an age-related issue, and perhaps it’s the ’other guy‘ mentality.
Regardless, pedestrians are vulnerable to collisions. And personal-safety
experts say that pedestrians also are especially vulnerable to criminal assault
when they’re distracted,” added Osterberg.
to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 a
pedestrian was injured every 7 minutes in the United States. Worse, 4,743
pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2012 represented a 6 percent increase over
the previous year and marked the most fatalities in the past five years.
pedestrian fatalities represented 16 percent of total traffic fatalities in
both Washington and Oregon in 2012, with 55 pedestrian fatalities in Oregon and
72 in Washington.
mounting number of studies show a clear correlation between distracted
pedestrians and unsafe behavior while crossing intersections,” Osterberg said.
“Just as it is with driving, distractions of any kind can lead to accidents.”
to a University of Washington study published in Injury Prevention,
texting pedestrians were 3.9 times more likely to display at least one unsafe
behavior – disobeying the lights, crossing mid-intersection, or failing to look
both ways. Those who were texting also took more time to cross the street.
those listening to headphones walked faster than undistracted pedestrians.
To learn more about the
PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and to view a summary of the results, visit www.pemco.com/poll,
where the public is invited to participate in an informal version of the poll
and see how their own responses compare with those collected by FBK Research of
Seattle in May 2014.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey that asked
Washington and Oregon residents several questions about driving habits and
attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in
Washington and 600 respondents in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent
at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were
conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the
associated error range.
About PEMCO Insurance
established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, and
umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold to consumers
by the method they choose – phone, local community agents, or online. For more
information, visit www.pemco.com.