Walking into poles and potholes (or right in front of traffic), because you have a cell phone in front of your face sounds more like a cartoon than like reality. But more and more people are getting into serious accidents caused by texting.
Well, as it turns out, texting and walking is more common and far more dangerous than we thought.
Although it brings to mind the line about walking and chewing gum, we fail to understand that people do not function well with divided attention.
One example is a recent study that says those who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident. And one in four car accidents involve cell phone use. Texting and cell phones cause the same problems with divided attention, focus and concentration when we’re walking as they do when we’re driving cars. It is leading to a number of serious pedestrian injuries due to texting and walking.
The Detroit News recently wrote about texting and walking accidents in an article called “Texting pedestrians walking right into danger.”
Indeed, texting and walking/distracted walking accidents can go from beyond just embarrassing. Injuries can range from traumatic brain injury to broken bones and even death. Our attorneys previously wrote about a teenager who was run over and killed by a train that he did not hear coming as he crossed the tracks with blaring headphones.
As an attorney, I’ve personally seen just how dangerous cell phones and texting can be in the car crashes and truck accidents that I litigate that are caused by texting while driving.
Here are some rules (again, who knew) for walking:
- Do not walk and text.
- And turn the headphones off when you’re walking.
This not only lets you focus on what’s in front of you, but it also makes you less dangerous to those around you.
There are even studies on this. It probably comes as little surprise that teenagers are more likely to text and walk, as their age group is most likely to be tuned into cell phones and techonology at all hours.
Here are the numbers according to a study by Safekids Worldwide. The study observed 34,325 students crossing streets in front of schools 2012-13 school year in 17 states:
- 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 8 middle school students were observed crossing the street while distracted.
- Of those students, 39 % were sending text messages and 39 % were using headphones.
- Girls were more likely than boys to be walking while distracted.
A nationwide study conducted by Ohio State University researchers estimated more than 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking.
Walking and texting is a lot more dangerous than we thought.
Named a “Leader in the Law” and “Lawyer of the Year” by Michigan’s largest legal newspaper for his record-breaking auto accident verdicts, settlements and advocacy work in preventing wrecks, Steven Gursten heads Michigan Auto Law—a firm dedicated to serious motor vehicle accident injury and wrongful death cases.