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Texting and Walking, a Deadly Distraction

Published on December 17, 2012

Text Walking Simple Texting

Everyone knows that texting and driving is dangerous. But texting and walking? Who hasn’t glanced at a new message while strolling through the streets? It couldn’t be that dangerous… right?

Not so fast. A new study reveals more than 1 in 4 pedestrians crossing busy streets are distracted by their mobile device. The study concluded that “Technological and social distractions increase crossing times, with text messaging associated with the highest risk.” Texting pedestrians took almost 2 seconds longer to cross the street, and were 4 times more likely to forget first-grade traffic lessons, like looking both ways or waiting for the light.

While traffic-related deaths are reaching all-time lows, pedestrian deaths are on the rise nationwide. Handheld digital distractions may explain this fatal trend. Researchers advocate parents teach their children safe habits: “Parents should tell their children to put down their cellphones while walking,” offered Jack Nasar. “[And they] should model and follow their own advice.”

We know it’s nearly impossible to resist reading that new text, but keep it out of the streets and stick to the sidewalk.

Photo courtesy of Conor Lawless

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