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Petextrians: Texting While Walking

By Evan L. Kaine

Whether you live in small town Georgia or in the big city, your right foot has slammed on the brake a time or two. The reasons are endless but one growing trend is that of petextrians. Yes, you heard that correctly, P-E-T-E-X-T-R-I-A-N-S.

A petextrian is an individual who is texting and walking at the same time. Based on statistics, pedestrian accidents/deaths had steadily been on the decline (11%) between the 1970’s to early 2000’s. However, with the improvements of technology and addictive behavior that coincides with a smart phone– the trend has increased (15%) by 2009.

While we hear of drivers fatally striking pedestrians in a hit-and-run or drunk driving car accident, we rarely hear the dangers pedestrians cause drivers. By no means are we excusing the latter two incidents, we are simply bringing attention to a new risk.

According to a study done by AAA, there were 4,735 pedestrian fatalities in 2013. The study also found that the number of pedestrians injured while on their cell phones has doubled since 2005.

The preoccupied walkers not only take longer to cross the street, but are also more likely to ignore traffic lights or neglect to look in either direction. However, the interesting part of the study found that these distracted individuals tend to utilize crosswalks—believing they can do as they please and not be at risk.

So the next time you are driving through a crosswalk, take a moment and count how many pedestrians are NOT paying attention. The next time you are walking, make sure that you are looking up rather than down at a screen—it may save your life.

The problem is particularly prevalent among teens, who tend to believe it’s okay to cross the street while texting or tweeting. Nearly 40% of U.S. teens have been hit or nearly hit by a passing car, motorcycle, or bike — and those hit or nearly hit tend to report higher rates of cell phone-related distraction than their peers.


For more information on this article, contact Kaine Law.


Published August 18, 2015


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