Study Offers a Heads-Up on Distracted Walking

We’ve all heard about the dangers of talking on a cell phone or texting while behind the wheel. But a new study confirms that even when we’re walking around using our smart phones, we’re still making dumb decisions.

The journal Accident Analysis & Prevention is soon to publish its findings on emergency room visits by pedestrians who were using their mobile phone in a public place when they suffered an injury, and the trend looks like this:

  • 256 to 597 such incidents occurred between 2004 and 2007
  • 1,055 occurred in 2008
  • 1,113 took place in 2009, and
  • there were 1,506 in 2010.

Perhaps not surprisingly, young whippersnappers (which the study referred to as “people under 31 years of age”) were among the most often-injured in these pedestrian accidents, and as far as comparisons to distracted driving, as ¬†WebMD points out, “estimated numbers of injuries to pedestrians on cellphones were roughly equal to those of drivers who were on cellphones.”

On the perceived dangers of talking versus texting, this from The Atlantic,¬†after pointing out a few “schadenfreudic gems” from the study where pedestrians were engaged in actual conversation: “Notice that these people were talking, not texting. In fact, 69.5 percent of the injuries that occured during this time came from people who were distracted by a conversation; texting only accounted for 9.1 percent.”