Number of pedestrian accidents due to distraction rising

As you were growing up, your parents always told you to look both ways before crossing the street. However, that lesson is apparently being drowned out by the allure of the smart phone.

That addiction is putting people at risk nationwide, because while some aren't paying attention to where they're walking, they're getting hit and killed in car crashes.

A review of accident data over the past two years in several Maryland counties and cities shows that of the 767 vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents, more than one-third were due to distraction, and many involved pedestrians on their cell phones.

Keshia Pollack, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, says that the need to feel plugged in is likely fueling that behavior.

"People forget to look both ways," Pollack said. "Either put down the phone and cross the street or stop if you have to respond."

You don't have to go far in the District, either, to see people narrowly missing becoming victims.

"You have to make sure you don't get have to look," D.C. resident Brianna Pannell said.

Experts don't have much advice on how to combat the problem other than using simple common sense - you're less likely to get hit by a car if you look both ways before entering a crosswalk.

Really, that just means looking up from your phone.

MORE: Check out the full set of data used in this story.