Texting while walking strikes again. This really must be a more serious problem than I thought. It even found its way into the Accident Prevention and Analysis journal in a study that concluded, “Using a mobile phone while walking puts pedestrians at risk of accident, injury or death.”
Sounds pretty serious! Data from the study indicated that there was a significant increase in the number of pedestrian injuries related to mobile phone usage from 2004-2010. According to Jane Brody of the New York Times, the number of these types of injuries more than doubled during that timeframe.
The federal government, says Brody, wants to do their part to help solve the problem. They decided to offer cities $2 million grants to put toward preventing further injuries and deaths. Brody continues: “Accidents among digitally distracted walkers can be as serious as being hit by a vehicle, falling down a flight of stairs, tripping over a curb, walking into a glass door or falling into a fountain or swimming pool.”
Dr. Alan Hilibrand, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), discusses how “digital deadwalkers” are causing all sorts of injuries for themselves by tripping, falling, or otherwise wandering into places that they shouldn’t (such as into traffic). That same article from the AAOS discusses how most Americans understand this behavior as serious but few recognize that they themselves may be a part of the “distracted walking” problem.
Obviously, people must really love texting to risk life and limb in order to text while walking. I know that from now on, I’ll certainly (maybe) think twice before responding to a text message while I’m out on a walk! Perhaps there should be a warning signs on cell phones: Do not operate while walking. That plus $2 million from the government ought to solve everything.