Think of a college campus and you will probably come up with some sort of combination of partying, making friends, athletic events, and maybe even some studying. College campuses are always bustling with students, professors, staff, visitors, and locals. Students travel constantly to get from one building to another, which may be all the way across campus at some of America’s larger schools.
Students may travel by car or by utilizing public transportation, but the predominant means of travel among college-aged adults is on foot. Whether students are walking, skateboarding, rollerblading, or biking, their presence on the roads is a constant source of distraction for drivers, who may not be able to focus on one person with all of the activity going on around them. Plus, pedestrians are constantly distracted by friends, music, or their telephones. This combination of distractions make accidents on college campuses frequent—exemplified locally by a recent accident on the Pennsylvania State University campus.
Pedestrian and Driver Inattention Generally
Often, pedestrians do have the right of way, particularly in crosswalks. However, pedestrians often assume the car approaching is paying attention to them on the street, and consequently, the driver often assumes the student is paying attention to the car approaching on the road. This is an even greater concern when large vehicles like SUVs or buses come into play—the blind spots and height of these vehicles can make pedestrians even more difficult to spot. These concerns are present regardless of whether it is the driver or the pedestrian that is distracted, which is a key contributing factor to college campus accidents.
In the digital age, cellular phones are the ultimate distraction and primary contributing factor of pedestrian-related accidents in the United States. A USA Today article explained how distracted walking can prove as dangerous as distracted driving. This is especially true now that smartphones double as music and Internet video devices, meaning many, if not most, students are walking with headphones in. This applies not just to students walking to and from class, but to runners on or around campus.
Wearing headphones is particularly dangerous, as they can cancel out warning noises such as horns or peer warnings of oncoming traffic. Looking down to change the song, surf the web, tweet, or respond to a friend’s text message can be the difference between seeing the car approaching you and walking out in front of it. If you are using your smartphone on your walk, put it down before crossing the road. Keep one headphone in and one out, allowing your senses to warn you of possible danger. Walk bicycles, skateboards, and other wheeled transportation across the street. These seemingly obvious tips can greatly improve safety for pedestrians traveling on college campuses.
Pedestrians and drivers share many of the same distractions, predominantly the phone. While most states, including Pennsylvania, prohibit texting and driving, drivers can still be distracted by their oral conversations. The same extends to music, or having other people in the car. Students may emerge from behind parked cars or buses, and a driver’s inattention at these times may prove fatal.
A major problem with college campus driving is that students are often in a hurry, or often become too comfortable with their routes to and from school. Such routine can cause individuals not to properly assess their surroundings, or be as alert as they would be if traveling on an unfamiliar road. As a student driver, make sure to be alert for people crossing at the last minute, and do not ever assume the pedestrian sees you approaching.
If You Were in a College Campus Pedestrian Accident, Contact Us
The effects of pedestrian accidents on college campuses can have debilitating consequences. Injured students may miss class or work, or amass exorbitant medical bills. If the driver of a vehicle or the school responsible for your well-being is determined at fault for your injuries, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, emotional distress, and other associated losses and costs. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Solnick & Associates LLC are familiar with these types of cases and have the specific knowledge necessary to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a college campus accident or any other type of auto accident that resulted in personal injury or death, please contact our office today.