Thursday, March 31 2016 @ 10:38 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
by Charles Komanoff, Streets Blog
Hospital records from 2014 showed that distracted walking accounted for 78% of pedestrian injuries throughout the United States.
— Daily News, Sunday, March 27, 2016
A report released in 2015 by the Governors Highway Safety Association found an increase in pedestrian fatalities, and cited texting while walking as partly to blame. Nearly two million pedestrian injuries were related to cellphone use, the report said.
— Philadelphia Inquirer, Friday, March 25, 2016
Attempts to repress human-powered movement invariably arise from three elements: a penchant for victim-blaming, officials’ “windshield perspective” that marginalizes and devalues people outside cars, and dubious statistics.
Rebutting the claim that distracted walking accounts for 78 percent of U.S. pedestrian injuries
... Unremarked in that sentence, however, is that the study in question was not looking at all pedestrian injuries, but only pedestrian injuries related to mobile phones. We thus have the unremarkable finding that most pedestrians who were using a mobile phone when they were injured in traffic crashes were talking or texting — as opposed to, say, switching playlists or posting on Twitter.
Rebutting the claim that nearly two million pedestrian injuries a year involve pedestrians’ cellphone use
Here’s where it gets weird. ...
That could be the wildest extrapolation you’ll see in any peer-reviewed journal this decade. “Only” 66,000 pedestrian injuries a year are recorded in official U.S. traffic crash data, yet the AA&P authors speculate that there may be 30 times as many attributable to mobile phone usage alone.
“Victim blaming is a subtle process, cloaked in kindness and concern,” wrote sociologist William Ryan over four decades ago. Battling victim-blaming along with the pervasive windshield perspective is hard enough without having to contend with bogus “statistics” as well. The Governors Highway Safety Association and Accident Analysis & Prevention have some soul-searching to do.