New danger: distracted walking!

John Moe Jul 31, 2012

There are plenty of dangers that go with driving while being otherwise occupied and thus distracted. We know that you shouldn’t text while driving, for instance, lest you, you know, kill yourself and others because you couldn’t wait to make fun of what Megan was wearing. Generic Megan there, no offense, Megans of the world.

Now the AP does a deep dive report on the hazards of walking around with your head buried in your phone. Turns out it’s inadvisable even though the magical screenworld is sooooo much more interesting than dumb old reality. Emergency rooms, the article says, are seeing an increase in people hurt by distracted walking.

In Delaware, highway safety officials opted for a public education campaign, placing decals on crosswalks and sidewalks at busy intersections urging pedestrians to “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.”
Philadelphia officials are drafting a safety campaign that will be aimed in part at pedestrians who are looking at their devices instead of where they’re going. “One of the messages will certainly be ‘pick your head up’ — I want to say ‘nitwit,’ but I probably shouldn’t call them names,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities.

Good old Philly.

Some research is being done at Ohio State that apparently involves students being hit by cars:

“I see students as soon as they break from a class, they have their cellphones out and they’re texting to one another. They’re walking through the door and bumping into one another,” said Jack Nasar, an Ohio State University professor and expert on environmental psychology. “People think they can do it, that they are somehow better.”
A study Nasar conducted at intersections on campus found that people talking on cellphones were significantly more likely to walk in front of cars than pedestrians not using phones.

Good times in Columbus.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.