The Dangers Of Inattentive Walking

Significant attention has been paid to the dangers of texting and driving. The rise in popularity of personal electronic devices, including cell phones, also poses a threat to pedestrians. Some of that threat comes from interaction with drivers who are not paying sufficient attention, but some also comes from the distraction suffered by the walkers, themselves. Walking without paying attention to the dangers around you is not safe. One recent study found that distracted walking actually caused more injuries than distracted driving. It is yet another reason for people to consider putting down their cell phones and paying greater attention to physical space surrounding them.

The study analyzed emergency room visits that were related to cell phone use as recorded in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. It studied cases involving pedestrians, motorists and those riding bicycles. While a distracted walker is a much greater hazard to him- or herself than to others, compared to distracted drivers, the problem is still the same: People are putting too much attention into their phones and not enough on safety.

A distracted walker is also likely to, in turn, be a distracted driver. If personal safety is not reason enough to pay attention to your surroundings, there is no reason to expect the safety of others will be enough. In other words, if you can’t be bothered to put down your cell phone while crossing a busy street, why would you put it down when driving home?

Source: The Atlantic, “Study: ‘Distracted Walking’ Causes More Injuries Than Distracted Driving,” by Lindsay Abrams, 20 June 2013