Distracted walking creates hazards for drivers and pedestrians

A study by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that pedestrian deaths in 2018 reached their highest annual total since 1990. In fact, pedestrian deaths now account for 16% of all traffic fatalities.

One big factor behind these trends: digitally distracted walkers. Pedestrians who are talking or texting on the phone, or listening to music with headphones on may walk unknowingly into the road. In fact, researchers at Stony Brook University have found that pedestrians using their cell phones while walking are 61% more likely to veer off their path. And, a Safe Kids study discovered that one in five high schoolers cross streets while digitally distracted.

Street safety – a shared responsibility

To minimize risk:

Drivers should…

Walkers should…

  • Watch for pedestrians at all times

  • Follow speed limits, particularly in school zones and highly populated neighborhoods
  • Obey traffic laws
  • Not use mobile devices while driving
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Look before opening car doors
  • Stop in a safe place to talk on the phone or text
  • Avoid using headphones, or keep volume on low, to hear surrounding sounds
  • Follow traffic rules, including use of crosswalks and cross signals
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing street
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible

Protect yourself and those around you

In addition to following traffic laws and safe driving recommendations, it's important to have the right insurance protection should an accident occur. Reach out to your independent insurance agent to be sure you have the right liability limits on your auto insurance, and discuss whether you should add an umbrella policy to your coverage for added peace of mind.


Governors Highway Safety Association
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Stony Brook University
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safe Kids Worldwide

LC July 2018-328