Preoccupied pedestrians, like drivers, often times become so absorbed that they lose awareness of their surroundings. Pedestrians have fallen flat on their face, walked in front of cars, run into brick walls or poles, and plunged into a mall fountain. There is no end to the potential dangers, some even fatal as one Indiana family learned on Christmas Day.
According to witnesses, a man walking at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego was distracted by his electronic device when he fell 60 feet to his death. After falling, three Good Samaritans descended the rocks to try to save him, even attempting CPR. However, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The device wasn’t recovered so it is unclear if the man was using a cell phone or camera at the time of the incident. He was later identified as 33-year-old Joshua Burwell of Sheridan, Indiana. Burwell leaves behind a young son.
Cell phone use in distracted driving injuries and deaths has received much attention for years, and rightly so, but the dangers of cell phone use to pedestrians has also been on the rise. While the problem isn’t as widely discussed as distracted driving, the dangers are just as real. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of all adult cellphone users have been on the giving or receiving end of a distracted walking encounter. Reports of injuries to distracted pedestrians treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years.
Because of the alarming trend on pedestrian accidents, some states have considered passing laws to prohibit distracted walking. However, persuading more people to put their heads up and their cellphones down would be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to reduce this epidemic. Yet, most people don’t necessarily see the danger in using a cellphone while walking as much as they do while they are driving. Lawsuit Financial hopes this latest fatality helps educate pedestrians that is it just as important to walk cell-free as it is to drive cell-free. No call or text is worth an injury or a life.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.