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Dangers of Distracted Walking

Posted Jul 19 2013 10:08pm

In the United States in 2010, over 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking.  Jack Nasar, from The Ohio State University (Ohio, USA), and colleagues used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), which samples injury reports from 100 hospitals around the country.  These reports are used to estimate total injury occurrences at emergency rooms across the country.  The team examined data for seven years (from 2004 to 2010) involving injuries related to cell phone use for pedestrians in public areas (in other words, not at home).  Findings showed that in 2004, an estimated 559 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for injuries received while using a cell phone.  That number dropped to 256 in 2005, but has risen every year since then.  The study found that young people aged 16 to 25 were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting.  Writing that: “Using a mobile phone while walking puts pedestrians at risk of accident, injury or death,” the study authors warn that: “Walking and talking or texting can be dangerous.”

Jack L. Nasar, Derek Troyer. “’ Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places.”  Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 57, August 2013, Pages 91-95.

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