Teen Walking Dangers

September 30, 2014

alt copy

Half of teens surveyed say they walk while distracted

New research released today from Safe Kids Worldwide revealed alarming news: 40 percent of teens have been hit or nearly hit by a car, bike or motorcycle while walking.

The report, “Teens on the Move” made possible with support from FedEx®, explores walking behaviors of 1,040 teens ages 13 to 19.

According to the research, distraction plays a role; half of teens surveyed say they cross the street while distracted by a mobile device. Teens who had been hit or nearly hit more frequently reported crossing in the middle of a block or running across the street. The research includes an examination of fatality data that shows 75 percent of teen pedestrian deaths occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., when it’s dark out.

The study was developed to better understand why teens have the highest pedestrian death rates among children 19 and under. In fact, the death rate for teens ages 13 to 19 is nearly three times that of 5 to 12-year olds. In 2012, 488 children ages 19 and under died after being hit by a car while walking. Of those, 284 were teens ages 13 to 19.

The new report expands on findings from a 2013 Safe Kids report that observed middle school and high school students crossing the street. That study revealed 1 in 5 high schoolers and 1 in 8 middle schoolers cross while distracted by technology.

“We’ve all heard the message about the dangers of texting and driving,” said Daphne Greenlee, coordinator of Safe Kids Springfield and trauma outreach coordinator for Mercy Injury Prevention Center.  “But sadly, we’re seeing teenagers injured and killed from texting or being distracted as pedestrians.”

Safe Kids Springfield and FedEx recommend the following tips to keep teens, and all of us, safe while walking.

  • Put down phones and headphones when crossing the street.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
  • Be especially alert when it’s dark out, and make sure you’re visible to drivers.
  • Cross at a traffic signal or crosswalk when possible.

Moment of Silence Campaign

Fifteen-year-old Christina Morris-Ward was killed while crossing the street. She was wearing headphones and carrying a cell phone. In memory of Christina and all those who have been killed or injured while crossing the street, Safe Kids is continuing the Moment of Silence campaign. It’s easy to participate: simply commit to putting your device down and paying attention when crossing the street. Watch the video and learn more about the Moment of Silence campaign at safekids.org.