Distracted walking affects your safety and your rights.
Regardless of the primary transportation you use to get around for personal or professional reasons, everyone is a pedestrian at some point in time. People on foot share the road with motorized vehicles that are much heavier, larger, and traveling at a higher comparative rate of speed, so accidents can be deadly. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that more than 7,600 pedestrians are killed in collisions every year, comprising approximately 17% of all traffic fatalities. Worse, the data reveals that these incidents are on the rise, with a 51% increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2009 to 2019.
This time period is notable because it also coincides with the explosion in cell phone use, with many people wearing headphones while walking. You can probably guess that this is a risky activity for safety reasons, but you might not realize how having headphones on could impact liability. Though a Tulsa, OK pedestrian accident attorney can provide specifics, some background information may be helpful.
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Why Headphones Put Pedestrians in Danger
Wearing earbuds, headphones, and related gear may enhance the audio-visual experience, but doing so interferes with your capabilities in the same way as distracted driving. There are concerns in three key areas when it comes to a motorist’s attentiveness:
- Interacting with a device requires use of your hands, reducing your manual abilities;
- Your visual competence is compromised when looking away from the road; and,
- When listening to music, video, or other content via headphones, your cognitive skills are affected. Your attention is elsewhere instead of on the traffic surrounding you.
In addition, wearing headphones is even more dangerous than other distractions because it also affects your hearing. With audio playing in your ear, you may not know that a motorist honked, and tires were screeching just before the impact.
How Oklahoma Law Applies to Pedestrian Accidents
Injured victims may be entitled to compensation from a careless driver under the principles of negligence. This theory of liability requires you to prove that the incident was the result of the driver’s failure to drive safely, and you were hurt as a result.
However, Oklahoma has enacted a statute on contributory negligence that puts the focus on the victim’s actions in a pedestrian accident. If you were more than 50% accountable for the incident, you are not entitled to recover any compensation. When your fault is assessed at a lower percentage, your monetary damages may be reduced by that proportion.
Wearing headphones while walking could be considered a form of negligence because the pedestrian is not exercising reasonable care to protect his or her own safety.
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Discuss Your Legal Options With a Tulsa, OK, Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Our team at BDIW Law is prepared for challenges related to contributory negligence, so please contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can reach one of our Oklahoma pedestrian accident attorneys by calling 580-789-4936 or visiting our website.
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