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.