Plugged in, tuned out: Teen distraction increases pedestrian accidents
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
Jan 22, 2014 | 21740 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print


(BPT) - From dating to driving to curfews, there's a lot to worry about if you have a teenager. You want to keep your child safe and likely have talked about distracted driving and avoiding texting while behind the wheel, but technology can be distracting while walking, too. More teens are plugged in and tuning out to the world around them. An alarming 39 percent were observed typing on a phone, and 39 percent were wearing headphones while crossing the road.

One in five high school students and one in eight middle school students cross the street while distracted by things like music, texting and digital games, according 'Teens and Distraction: An In-Depth Look at Teens' Walking Behaviors,' a report from Safe Kids Worldwide made possible with support from FedEx. The study observed 34,000 students nationwide crossing streets in school zones.

Crossing the street while distracted by technology can mean the difference between life and death. In 2012, Christina Morris-Ward, a 15-year old girl in Montgomery County, Md., was killed while crossing the street because she was distracted by headphones and a cell phone. While teens use their favorite technologies every day, it's important for parents to encourage them to put down their devices when crossing any road.

You may remember the early years of reminding your youngster to look both ways before crossing the road. Now that your children are teenagers, it's time to have the talk again, but with a slightly different approach. Talk to teens about being responsible pedestrians by putting down mobile devices while walking and remind them of the importance of looking up, listening and making eye contact with drivers when crossing the street. And set a good example by putting your own devices down when driving or crossing the street.

Keep these tips in mind whenever you cross the road:

1. Put devices down, look left, right and left again, listen and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

2. Remember to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up because visibility is limited. When possible, walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners with traffic signals and crosswalks.

3. Be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is distracted.

4. If you need to use a cell phone, stop on the sidewalk and find a safe area to talk. If you are wearing headphones, pull them down before you cross the street.

5. Driveways and parking lots can be especially dangerous because pedestrians walk close to moving cars. Turn off devices in places where cars are going in unexpected directions, like backing out of a parking spot or turning out of a driveway.

Finally, teens aren't the only ones who are distracted. Being a responsible driver means eliminating distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road, too. Be extra aware of pedestrians in residential areas and school zones. Look for bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible or may step into the street unexpectedly.

In memory of Christina and all those who have been killed or injured while crossing the street, Safe Kids and FedEx launched the Moment of Silence campaign. Participate by pledging to put your device down and pay attention when crossing the street. Watch the video and learn more about the Moment of Silence campaign at safekids.org/silence.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.