NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Pedestrian deaths continue to climb across the country, and now, distracted drivers are literally running into equally distracted pedestrians.
The Governors Highway Safety Association found pedestrians deaths increased 11% from 2015 to 2016. 2,660 pedestrians died during the first 6 months of last year.
The circumstances of these pedestrian deaths all varied, but there seems to be one pattern that holds true between most of them, cell phone use. Most pedestrians cross traffic with their eyes glued to their smartphones; sometimes with headphones in, making them oblivious to oncoming cars.
Kellye Shuman of Westfield told 22News this spike in accidents isn’t surprising. “I’ve been bumped into people before by them looking at their phone. I’ve seen people trip.”
“The screens on the phones are like little magnets that just suck your attention in; you’re so involved in that small task, that the stuff around you disappears,” said Cecily Gottling of New York City.
While 22News was working on this story along Main Street in downtown Northampton, around 1:00 p.m. Friday, a pedestrian accident happened in the middle of the crosswalk, a block from where our news crew was standing. Northampton Police Detective Mike Briggs said it appears texting was not involved in this incident, and the accident is still being investigated.
22News saw the pedestrian loaded into an ambulance before being taken to Cooley Dickinson Hospital. He suffered minor injuries, and is expected to be okay.