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Distracted drivers, walkers a recipe for tragedy in Hayward

With the start of the fall semester at Cal State East Bay, we’re going to see an influx of young people returning to Hayward. That means more cars and more pedestrians, and drivers need to be a lot more cautious.

In fact, in 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in the United States for the second year in a row. One of the reasons cited by safety experts is that both pedestrians and drivers are too distracted.

Every day, we see people of all ages walking on the sidewalk, head buried in their smartphones and unaware of the curb or other hazards ahead. Then, think of the drivers who sneak a peek at their phones while driving, and catastrophe can be right around the corner.

The odds of a pedestrian accident happening are growing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of pedestrian deaths went up by 9 percent in 2016 and 9.5 percent in 2015.

This increase comes at a time when cars have improved technologically to the point that they can detect and warn drivers of accidents about to happen through rearview cameras and such.

California law has banned texting and driving since 2009. Last year, new laws toughened the penalties for use of electronic devices while driving.

Various locales also are adopting ordinances to ban walking across the street while using a phone. Honolulu has such a law, as does the Southern California city of Montclair.

Distracted driving has become a fact of life in the United States, as has distracted walking, apparently. Still, the majority of pedestrians are obeying laws when they are killed or injured by a car driven by a distracted driver. If you have been hurt in such a crash, or have lost a member of your household, a California attorney experienced in accident law can assist you.