Experts have labeled distracted driving, which typically means using a smartphone or vehicle infotainment system behind the wheel, as the source of a startling rise in traffic and pedestrian accidents. People in Arizona have likely witnessed people engaged in this behavior that takes their attention off the road. Traffic-related deaths have been risen 11 percent since 2009, but the toll on pedestrians has been far higher with a 46 percent increase in fatalities during the same period.
The mass adoption of smartphones coincides with the rise in traffic deaths. The Governors Highway Safety Association has reported that between 2010 and 2016, active cellphone use jumped by 236 percent. Emergency rooms act as the front lines for the crisis. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reports that emergency room visits associated with smartphone distraction rose by 83.5 percent from 2007 to 2016. Apple introduced its iPhone in 2007.
Although drivers have a legal obligation to avoid hitting people, some pedestrian deaths arise from distracted walkers who step into traffic without looking. A university researcher said that active enforcement of traffic rules significantly lowered the incidence of pedestrian accidents in one experimental location.
Because drivers are operating large machines, they have a responsibility to pay attention to the road. An inattentive driver who strikes a pedestrian may be liable for the victim's damages. A person hurt by a reckless or distracted driver may ask an attorney familiar with motor vehicle accidents to prepare a personal injury claim. An attorney might gather evidence, such as a police report or witness testimony, to justify a settlement to pay for medical bills and lost income. Legal representation may reduce a person's vulnerability to insurance company delay tactics and enable formal legal action that an injured person might not have the resources to initiate alone.