Think it’s safe to take out your phone and send a few text messages while walking?
A professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo has recently discovered that distracted walking leads to more injuries per mile than distracted driving does. That is, while both are incredibly dangerous, texting while walking could actually be more dangerous than texting while driving.
More On The Study
In studying pedestrian/cell phone accidents, researchers analyzed the data of a study done by an Ohio State University research team. This study had figures that showed the number of pedestrian injuries related to cell phone use has tripled between the years 2004 and 2010. The professor leading this particular study estimates that nearly 10% of pedestrian visits to the ER are as a result of cell phone use. Previously the most widely treated pedestrians were children, the elderly and the intoxicated.
While this makes sense with the rise of smartphones, cell phone related accidents are completely avoidable. Researchers say that car/cell phone accidents are usually more severe than accidents that occur while walking, but walking accidents occur much more frequently. It’s gotten so bad that some cities have opted to install “bumpers” or padded protection on street signs and lights, so that people won’t be injured when they run into them.
Researchers say the main issue is that you’re asking your brain to focus on too many things. That is walking pedestrians face three major distractions:
- Manual. They’re doing something other than just walking (e.g. texting).
- Visual. They are seeing something other than just the path in front of them (e.g. phone screen).
- Cognitive. You’re thinking about something aside from walking. Walking is a complex action and you need more than a distracted brain to do so safely. Pedestrians distracted by their phones can procure serious injuries by falling down stairs, tripping over obstacles, walking into traffic or bumping into walls and sign posts.
Another study shows that when people were using their cell phone and walking they veered off course 61% more than when they were not, and overshot their destination 13% more. Researchers warn not only against texting, but using social media while walking as well. Scrolling through your twitter feed is just as distracting.
So what do researchers suggest?
While several laws that prohibit texting and walking have been proposed they have always been voted down. Instead, researchers suggest using apps that work off voice commands when walking a busy street. If those aren’t quite your style, you’d be surprised how much more effectively you can account for your own safety by simply looking up from your phone now and again! Always make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. If you are doing something complicated on your phone “pull over,” that is, step to the side of the sidewalk and stand still for a moment until you complete the task.
If you feel you have wrongly been the victim of a personal injury incident because of the negligence of another call the McMinn Law Firm today and get the representation you need.