On any given day, you’ll see thousands of distracted pedestrians on the streets of New York. They’re texting, listening to music, checking Facebook, or indulging in some good old-fashioned daydreaming. There are so many of them that they now have a unique name: “petextrians.”

On the surface, this practice seems harmless enough, but when people are so engrossed in their phones or thoughts that they lose track of their surroundings, it can become dangerous. They could slip in a puddle that they might otherwise have noticed, trip over objects or debris, walk into other people or, even worse, step in front of oncoming vehicles.

How great is the danger?

According to the National Safety Council, in 2017, close to 6,000 pedestrians across the country were struck and killed by motor vehicles. In October of that year, the New York Times wondered whether the city should take a cue from Honolulu, which now fines pedestrians up to $35 when the police catch them viewing electronic devices while crossing streets.

The danger isn’t only to these pedestrians. In their distracted state, they can also cause injury to others. For example:

  • A driver could lose control of their car after swerving to avoid a collision with a person crossing the street on a green light, causing them to be injured or hit another car or pedestrian.
  • A construction worker is standing on a ladder, working, when a distracted pedestrian ignores the warning signage and bumps into the ladder, causing them to fall and be injured.
  • A distracted pedestrian carrying a hot beverage can bump into someone else and spill the drink on them, causing serious burns

Pedestrians have a duty to exercise caution while they walk. This includes paying attention to where they are going so that they can avoid other pedestrians and protect themselves from injury. When they breach that duty of care by texting or surfing the web on the phone, they may be held liable if anyone else is injured.

If you’re walking to work or out on an errand and cannot wait to send a text or answer a phone call, then step out of the pedestrian flow first so that you can avoid potential risks. Obey traffic signals and never cross the street at a crosswalk without confirming it is safe to do so.

Contact a New York personal injury attorney

If you have been injured by a careless and distracted pedestrian, then contact a New York personal injury attorney who can help you recover the damages you need to cover any medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York personal injury and accident attorney. He will advise you regarding your rights and hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation