Students talking into cell phones. Groups of youth carrying on as they cross the street on their way to class. Headphones in. Sunglasses on. These are example of just a few of the distractions that have been the root of an increase in pedestrian-involved accidents on college campuses in recent years. Students riding skateboards, roller blades, scooters, and bicycles to class with distracted individuals all around them heightens the possibility of an accident. Both drivers and pedestrians need to start paying more attention when driving on college campuses.
Hit and Runs on College Campuses
Recently, local police charged a Roger Williams University student with driving to endanger and other charges after he hit a pedestrian on a skateboard in a college dormitory parking lot and fled the scene. The student’s pick up truck slammed into the skateboarder just after midnight, when the truck sped and jumped a curb, leaving 15 feet of tire marks at the scene. The entire incident was caught on school security cameras and local authorities located the driver soon after. The victim was very fortunate to survive the accident with only minor injuries. Sadly, other schools in the country, such as Pennsylvania State University have reported similar accidents that resulted in death.
Other Pedestrian Accidents on College Campuses
A recent USA Today article emphasized the negative effects cell phone use can have on pedestrian and driver safety. Massachusetts has strict cell phone laws for drivers, including both a texting ban and a hand held phone ban. Unlike many states, driving with a phone in your hand is a primary offense, meaning police can pull you over even if you are otherwise driving in accordance with the law. The use of cell phones while driving creates significant danger to others on the road—especially pedestrians. It can already be difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, or any other individual waiting to cross the road even with a driver’s full attention. Adding a cell phone to the scenario only increases the chance of an oversight, which is one of the primary reasons for crashes on college campuses.
The opposite is also true; pedestrians using cell phones while walking can create a danger and increase their chances of being struck by a vehicle. There have also been many reports on college campuses of pedestrians accidentally striking one another due to inattention. Phone use tends to cause students to walk slower and with their head down, not allowing them an opportunity to see oncoming cyclists or vehicles. Cell phone use also is often synonymous with listening to music. Many people who are texting or surfing the web on their phones are simultaneously listening to music, meaning they cannot see or hear what is going on around them.
In order to minimize the possibility of being in an accident on a college campus, there are many precautions you can take. If you are a pedestrian, keep at least one ear free from music so as to hear oncoming traffic and warning signals. Look forward at all times and wait until you reach your destination to surf the web on your phone. As drivers, make sure you have heightened awareness on college campuses. Students are everywhere, in a hurry, and often distracted. The best thing you can do is make sure you are free from distraction and that you can devote your attention to driving.
What if I was Involved in an Accident?
Despite all precautions one can take, accidents still do happen. If you or someone you know has been in any auto-related accident on or off a college campus, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our experienced auto accident attorneys at John J. Sheehan are always available to answer your questions and see if you may have an actionable claim. Please contact our Boston-based firm and learn more about your rights today.