I keep seeing it over and over again: strange stories and reports of people texting while walking. From falling into manholes to getting your leg stuck in a street drain to walking into a bear, there have been all sorts of humorous accidents due to “wexting” (walking and texting).
But the pitfalls of texting while walking apparently go beyond the occasional funny accident. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association suggests that the number of pedestrians being killed by drivers has increased by 10% in 2015 alone and has increased a total of 19% over the past 5 years.
The culprit for this significant increase? While it’s difficult to say for certain, one of the suggestions made in the report includes the following statement: “A more recent factor contributing to pedestrian fatalities may be the growing use of cellphones while walking, which can be a significant source of distraction for both drivers and pedestrians.”
In other words, people love texting on their cellphones so much that they accidentally cause fatal harm to themselves and possible injury to others.
While the initial notion of walking while texting may seem silly, in all seriousness it might be wise to take this report as a wake-up call. Smartphones are wonderful tools, but it is easy to fall into the trap of letting them distract us from the environment around us. From personal experience I understand how addicting it can be to have my eyes glued to my device and oblivious to the world around me.
So, friends, here are my words of suggestion to you: look up! At least long enough to dodge that manhole, step away from that street drain, run away from that bear, and watch for incoming traffic. Don’t become a statistic.
And never underestimate the power of people’s love for texting!