Texting & Walking – More Dangerous Than You Think
Mobile phones are indispensable to our lives, but do they present a unique danger to our lives, as well? Texting and driving causes people to take their eyes off the road for extended periods of time and has given rise to numerous accidents and deaths. This led to an almost nationwide ban on driving and texting in the United States. Yet, walking and texting can be just as dangerous.
Not Just A Meme
According to a USA Today statistic, nine out of ten Americans owns a mobile phone. We’re also extremely attached to our digital lives with social media and new apps dominating our attention span on a daily basis. You’ve probably seen funny memes on your mobile phone about people walking into fountains and glass doors, but it’s not a joke. Just like driving and texting, walking and texting makes people ignore hazards in the real world. Pedestrians are walking into moving traffic, poles, walls, and other impediments at an alarming rate.
Is It Really A Problem?
If you’re one of those people who can’t take their eyes off their phone, then you should know that the numbers of pedestrian accidents are staggering. A 2012 study conducted by the safety journal Injury Prevention found that about a third of pedestrians at high-risk intersections were listening to music, texting or using a mobile device. People who were texting took eighteen percent longer to cross the intersection and were four times more likely to have unsafe crossing behavior.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Teenagers seem to be the trouble demographic for texting and walking. According to Safekids.org, pedestrian and vehicle-related accidents are the fifth leading cause of death for kids aged five to 19. Ohio State University conducted a study in 2013 and found that injuries for people between the ages of 16 and 25 more than doubled between 2005 and 2010. Yet, kids aren’t the only demographic at risk here. Anybody who is walking and looking down at their mobile phone for extended periods of time is at risk.
The National Safety Council added distracted walking injuries to its annual report in 2015 for the first time. It’s certainly a rising trend. In 2014, Chinese urban planners built sidewalks specifically for people using mobile phones to reduce pedestrian accidents. Is that really the answer though? On one hand, it’s great that more people are walking and staying connected. However, we have to find a balance between staying connected and staying alert.