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RAA: Distracted walking accidents down in Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- As the number nationally continues to rise, the number of accidents involving pedestrians has decreased.

According to the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), they saw a twenty-eight percent drop in the number of incidents they responded to this past year.  For example, in January 2012 the RAA reported more than 160 incidents in Richmond involing pedestrians.  In January 2013, that number was less than 120,  a five year low for the RAA.

"We still have a way to go.  We're seeing a five year low, however we're still trying to drive the numbers down by asking people to look up, be careful when they cross the street," said Rob Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer for the RAA.

Around this time last year, the RAA began a "Crossing Alert" campaign aimed at getting people to put away their phones and pay attention while walking down the street.  Lawrence said the decrease in calls cannot be solely attributed to the campaign; adding it is only a piece to the puzzle.

As part of the "Crossing Alert" campaign, the RAA produced a music video featuring a song written and performed by one of their analysts.  CBS 6 got a behind the scenes look at the production.

"We definitely want the message to be broadcast outside of Richmond, outside of Virginia, across the nation, because it is a serious issue," said Sean Burton, who produced the song.

Lawrence said the video has been played at emergency response conferences throughout the country over the past year.

The RAA said paying attention while walking down the streets is especially important this time of year.  Since the weather is starting to change and school is about to start again, looking up from your phone could save your life, Lawrence said.