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Put down the phone: distractions lead to pedestrian accidents

We all know that teen drivers have an increased risk of getting into a car accident. They are simply not as experienced when it comes to the rules of the road. Sometimes they think they are invincible and take serious risks when driving, which leads to accidents. However, while it is certainly true that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S., it turns out that over the past several years there has been a rise in the number of teens injured in pedestrian accidents.

With the increase in teens having cellphones, recent data points to the fact that the distraction associated with talking and walking, sending texts and looking down to fiddle with a phone, has led to more people between the ages of 16 and 19 getting hit by cars. In fact, according to the non-profit Safe Kids Worldwide, there was a 25 percent increase in teen pedestrian accidents between 2005 and 2010.

This is particularly troubling since pedestrians have no safety system at all when hit by a car. Many times, those who are hit end up with catastrophic injuries, or are even killed.

However, pedestrians looking down at phones are not the only reason for this increase in accidents as there are also more drivers in Tennessee -- and around the rest of the country -- who are also preoccupied with their phones and not giving their full attention to driving.

"We have distracted drivers who may be hitting pedestrians in the street, but we also have distracted pedestrians who are walking in front of cars," said Kate Carr, who is the president of Safe Kids Worldwide.

Going forward, as cellphones and smartphones continue to increase in popularity, it is important for parents to talk to their teens about not walking or driving while staring down at a phone. Hopefully more education on the dangers will lead to a turnaround in the increasing number of pedestrian accidents.


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