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Lawmakers Eye Legislation Targeting Distracted Pedestrians

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on February 11, 2011

Most of us are very familiar with the dangers of distracted drivers who talk on their phones, text, apply makeup, eat and engage in other risky behavior while behind the wheel. However, New York lawmakers are considering legislation that addresses the risks that joggers and pedestrians take when wearing headphones and devoting their attention to iPods, cell phones and other personal electronic devices. The proposed legislation would ban the use of portable electronic devices while walkers and joggers cross streets and highways so that pedestrians devote their full attention to making sure they cross the street safely.

Lawmakers in other states are considering enacting similar legislation. A proposed Oregon law would restrict bicyclists from using portable music players and cell phones while riding, and Virginia lawmakers have proposed a law that would prevent bicyclists from using any “hand-held communication devices.”

California State Senator Joe Simitian, who led one of the nation’s first laws against drivers who text and talk on their cells while driving, has reintroduced proposed legislation that failed in 2010 that would fine bicyclists $20 for chatting and texting while riding.

“The big thing has been distracted driving, but now it’s moving into other ways technology can distract you, into everyday things,” said Anne Teigen, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislative developments.

One Central Park jogger said she understood the practicality of fining distracted pedestrians. She said, “They’re zigging, they’re zagging, they don’t know what’s around them. It can definitely be dangerous.”

According to research sponsored by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities rose slightly for the first six months of 2010, the first such increase in four years. While pedestrian accident deaths across the country dropped to 4,091 in 2009 from 4,892 in 2005, Arizona and Florida posted the biggest increases in pedestrian accident deaths, followed by North Carolina, Oregon and Oklahoma.

Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham is watching developments in distracted pedestrian legislation very closely here in Florida and across the country. He has seen Florida lead the nation in total number of pedestrian accidents, injuries from accidents and pedestrian accident deaths nearly every year since he began practicing law in 1977. While distracted pedestrians are a factor in a few pedestrian accidents, negligent drivers cause the overwhelming majority of cases. Mr. Cunningham is a passionate advocate for victims’ rights and fights hard to help them receive fair and just compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with an aggressive Orlando personal injury lawyer, call his law offices today at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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