You may have heard people talking about pedestrians being hit by cars while looking at their phones. This is being discussed as a potential distraction for pedestrians, who may not see a vehicle coming toward them if they’re staring down at the screen to send a text message or use social media.
As a result, there are those who will tell you that you should never use your phone when you’re walking near traffic. Even if you’re in a marked crosswalk and you have a walk signal, you want to keep your eyes up and focused on events around you. Save the phone for when you’re at home or somewhere else that you know you’re not going to be injured.
Is this good advice?
To start with, this can be construed as good advice. It may help to prevent accidents. It may keep the pedestrian safe. It’s similar to telling runners that they shouldn’t listen to music while they run.
But the problem with doing this is that it implies that pedestrians are responsible for the actions of the drivers around them. If someone is walking in a marked crosswalk and they have the walk signal, they could be hit by a driver who is turning left and doesn’t see them. If that pedestrian is looking at their phone, they may not see the car coming.
But that still doesn’t mean that it’s the pedestrian’s fault. They still have the right of way, and it’s the driver’s fault for making a mistake while turning and not yielding the right of way to the pedestrian. Whether or not the pedestrian was on their phone has nothing to do with it.
Additionally, even if you do everything you can to keep yourself safe, drivers are still going to make mistakes. You could still be injured, and then you need to know how to seek financial compensation.