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Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to text and drive, but many studies are now saying that texting while walking can be even more dangerous. Pedestrian injuries have increased dramatically in the last decade as texting technology has proliferated, and vehicle-pedestrian collisions are more deadly than other car crashes.
Although texting and driving accidents are usually more serious, texting while walking accidents happen more frequently and do have the potential to be catastrophic. The dangers of texting while walking are many and varied. When you aren’t paying attention to where you’re going you may end somewhere you don’t want to be. That could mean in a dangerous neighborhood, in the middle of the road, or in a hazardous construction site. Distracted pedestrians have fallen into open manholes, been hit by cars, walked into light posts and signs, and sustained injuries from trips and falls. Pedestrians who are hit by cars are unsurprisingly vulnerable to injuries because they have nothing to protect themselves (like a car or airbags) from the brunt of the impact.
Technology companies, city planners, and legislative bodies have recently begun to address the dangers of texting and walking. Apple is experimenting with technology that streams live video of what’s in front of you onto the screen of your phone, so you never even have to look up to avoid a possible hazard. The obvious question here is if you’re so distracted that you don’t know what’s in front of you how will you be engaged enough to pay attention to what’s on the video feed? Some developers say completely transparent designs are not far off. Some cities, like London, have installed protective bumpers around light posts and some states have begun drafting legislation to discourage this kind of distracted walking. Legislative measures have so far been strongly disfavored.
Anyone is at risk for an injury from absent-minded walking, but most pedestrian accidents involving cell phones affect people from 16-25 years old. No matter what age you are, pay attention! Cell phones are highly entertaining and designed for us to pay attention to them, but it isn’t worth your health or life. Especially in city environments with crowded streets and heavy traffic. Know where you are and what’s in front of you. You can always stop to send a text or resume once you’ve gotten to your destination safely. Whatever it is, it isn’t more important than your safety!