Michael Zakautos.aol.com On February 22, 2012, Meilan Jin was crossing an intersection at Northern Blvd. and Union St. in Queens, New York. Chatting on her cell phone as she proceeded diagonally across in an attempt to catch a van to her job at a nail salon, a city bus made a fast, wide right turn and struck her down in the road. The bus sped off, the driver unaware that she had hit a pedestrian. Jin died of her injuries at the scene shortly afterwards. Jin's case is part of two related and troubling trends. First, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths and an estimated 69,000 injuries, according to a new report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that on average a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. Second, according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the increase in "distracted walking" -- walking while texting, talking on the phone, listening to music, under the influence of drugs or alcohol -- has played a role in the escalation of pedestrian crashes. With eyes and ears increasingly trained to phones and other devices, pedestrians are increasingly less tuned into the world around them, creating hazardous situations while crossing streets and walking along them. Over 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2011 after being injured while using a portable electronic device, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing a recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report. to read more click here: autos.aol.com
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