If you're asked which age group of pedestrians are hurt the most, what would you guess? Would you assume it's young children, who don't know better and run into the street? Do you think it would be elderly individuals who may have physical limitations while crossing the road?

Both of these groups do have their challenges, but the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that college students actually have the highest injury rates. Experts believe that one potential issue is the use of mobile devices and the Internet, which could distract pedestrians and cause them to be hit more often.

The Study

A study was carried out, involving 92 individuals. They were told they needed to cross a virtual street not just once, but a full 20 times. For 10 of those crossings, they weren't distracted and concentrated simply on crossing. For the other 10, though, they had to take out a mobile device -- like a cellphone -- and look up the answers to questions at the same time. The questions were described as mundane, but they still gave the students a second task.

The Results

The results certainly backed up the hypothesis that risk would increase. When students were distracted, they more often overlooked safe crossing opportunties and took longer to get across the road. It took them more time to notice each safe crossing and make use of it, perhaps because they did not look right and left as often. Naturally, they looked at the road less and their phones more. All told, the odds of being hit went up, as did the amount of near misses.

Though technology is certainly not the only reason for these pedestrian accidents, it clearly makes them more likely.

Injury Compensation

That being said, pedestrians do have rights, even when distracted. Those who are crossing legally are not obligated to avoid drivers who put them in unsafe positions. When they're struck and hurt by these negligent drivers, even if they were on the Internet at the time, they may be able to seek compensation if the drivers were at fault.