Is there such a thing as distracted walking? Apparently so - and it rivals distracted driving as a source of injuries.
A group of university researchers recently published a study in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. The study showed that people injure themselves as pedestrians quite a lot. In fact, if you're walking around town talking on a mobile phone, you'll be so engrossed in your conversation that you might fall six feet off a bridge into a ditch, as happened to one 14-year-old, or you'll run into a light pole and lacerate your brow, as happened to an 18-year-old.
The injured young pedestrians were just two out of thousands of ER visits analyzed by the university researchers. They looked at all visits associated with the use of a mobile phone, looking for people who were injured as pedestrians because they weren't paying attention.
The results, as Lindsay Abrams writes for the Atlantic, show that distracted walking rivals distracted driving as a source of injuries: Almost 70 percent of those injured were injured because they had been distracted by conversation; only 9.1 percent, by contrast, were injured from texting while walking.
And the number of injuries from distracted walking went up right along with the number of injuries associated with distracted driving.
The moral of the story is that talking is simply distracting, no matter where you do it, whether on the sidewalk or behind the wheel of a car.