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Text and You’re Next

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Distracted by her phone, senior Madison Green almost gets hit by an incoming driver.

Distracted by her phone, senior Madison Green almost gets hit by an incoming driver.

Alina Peret

Alina Peret

Distracted by her phone, senior Madison Green almost gets hit by an incoming driver.

Maxton Preuninger, Writer

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She was driving home from another day at school, and the buses had started making their stops in her neighborhood. Junior Kat Richey rounded the corner and was startled by someone crossing the street with earbuds in, nearly hitting them. While Richey was able to avoid an accident, drivers all over the world are involved in collisions at the hands–or fingertips– of pedestrians.

Honolulu, Hawaii recently put a law in place to attempt to lower pedestrian deaths and injuries at crosswalks. With the national pedestrian death rate jumping 11 percent in 2016, Hawaii is one of the first states to put a precaution like this in place. If a pedestrian is caught texting while crossing at a crosswalk, they can be fined up to $35.

Sophomore Sarah Logan sees Honolulu’s law as a smart move for the safety of pedestrians. As someone who walks to school and crosses Reynolds Rd. each morning, one of the busiest parts of the day, she sees the dangers distracted pedestrians cause drivers. Logan says that the law distributes responsibility to the pedestrian, not just the driver, but the problem will require more than a law.

“I don’t think it can be fixed by [$35 fee],” Logan said. “We need to make people more aware of what can happen when they aren’t paying attention.”

Agreeing with Honolulu’s step to ensure the safety of pedestrians, senior Maddie Miller sees texting and walking as a problem not only on the streets, but also in the halls. She constantly gets caught behind people texting at school, saying they walk slower than needed, causing her to be late to classes across campus.

“It’s just as frustrating as seeing a distracted driver on the road,” Miller said.

Richey is all too familiar with the dangers of being distracted by a phone off the road. She was running stairs for cross country,  her music distracting her from the taxing activity. As Richey went to change the song, she lost her footing and was met with a surge of pain from a sprained ankle.

After her 7th grade running incident and her more recent close call in her car, Richey understands what can happen when focus is lost and is not surprised that pedestrian injuries have gone up. Richey says that people forget to take basic precautions, like looking both ways before crossing the street.

“You can’t completely rely on the driver when it comes to protecting everybody,” Richey said. “Sometimes it gets out of [the driver’s] control, and there’s nothing else you can do.”

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