Should Distracted Walking Be Regulated?

The question in the title of this article has been asked by motorists in Ontario. A search for the answer has led to the discovery of some helpful information.

What situations can demonstrate the hazards that are associated with distracted walking?

A walker not paying attention to what is going on around him or her: Not seeing what is happening, or not hearing the sounds in the area. This could cause the inattentive walker to move into a lane of traffic. A shopper studies a mobile device, while walking through the parking lot, outside of a department store. Traffic is moving in different directions. The walking shopper might venture into the path of an oncoming automobile.

How might the occurrence of such situations be regulated?

Put a ban on texting while walking. Study the rules currently on the books. Those rules state that pedestrians should watch out for their own safety. Court decisions have shown how judges have interpreted that rule. At least one decision has shown that a judge can rule against a pedestrian that has undertaken an added activity, while crossing the street.

Would creation of such a general ban qualify as an overreach on the part of the government?

While the rules on the books do ask pedestrians to keep an eye out for their own safety, at least when stepping onto the street, other government mandates mention an exception to the rule that requires each pedestrian to be watchful, when stepping into the path of traffic. What is that exception?

That exception concerns the expectations for those that move on foot through a parking lot. That is a place where any motorist should anticipate the appearance of one or more walkers. In other words, the existing law acknowledges the fact that a car driver that has entered a parking lot should expect to cross paths with a walker. Any accident due to it, can call for a personal injury claim, as per Personal Injury Lawyers in Sault Ste Marie.

Should motorists expect the proposed ban to bring an end to the dangers associated with distracted walking?

No, a ban on texting while walking would have no effect on the number of walkers that have plugs in their ears, so that they can listen to music or an audio book. Those plugs all but eliminate the walker’s ability to hear approaching vehicles. If someone that is proceeding on foot does not hear a vehicle that is approaching from the rear, then he or she might step into that same vehicle’s path.

Moreover, no one can control the mind of someone that has been granted the status of a pedestrian. He or she might feel safe assuming the right of way, when the abandonment of added caution does not really qualify as a careful decision. Remember, not demonstrating care constitutes negligence.