Millions Injured As They Walk and Talk … or Text

Most of us are aware of the dangers of driving and cell phone use, and prudent senior drivers pull over if they need to make a call. “The role of cell phones in distracted driving injuries and death gets a lot of attention and rightfully so,” says Ohio State University professor Jack L. Nasar. “But we need to also consider the danger cell phone use poses to pedestrians.”

Nasar and a research team from the OSU Department of City and Regional Planning examined data related to pedestrian-car accidents, falls and other injuries involving “distracted walking,” and conjectured that up to two million injuries each year may be related to walking while using a cell phone. Most of the injured walkers were talking on their phones; a smaller number were texting. Nasar cautions that this does not mean that texting is safer than talking—instead, it is probably because more people interrupt their stroll so as to text with greater ease.

As might be expected, most of the injured were younger people, who are more likely to be distracted by their devices. But seniors too should obviously be cautious. Nasar says, “As more people get cell phones and spend more time using them, the number of injuries is likely to increase as well. Now people are playing games and using social media on their phones, too.” So, the lesson is: if you want to chat, text, post on Facebook or play a quick game of Angry Birds—pull over! Even if you are walking.

Source: AgeWise reporting on study from Ohio State University