YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Number of 'distracted walking' injuries quadruple in 7 years

July 30, 2012|By Deborah Netburn

"We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn't have the data," Jonathan Atkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Assn., told the Associated Press.

The trouble is, most of us think that we can walk and text just fine. After all what is the worst that can happen? We might annoy the person behind us because we slowed down a bit, or worst case scenario, we gently bump into someone? That's a risk many of us are willing to take for the privilege of telling our dinner date we are "here!" three minutes before actually walking in the door.

But in fact, the worst-case scenario is much more dire. Researchers at the University of Maryland identified 116 cases in which pedestrians were killed or seriously injured while wearing headphones. Two-thirds of those injuries involved men under the age of 30, and half of them involved trains.

And data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that while traffic deaths went down in 2010 from the year before, pedestrian fatalities rose by 4.2% and injuries by 19%.

So maybe it's time to stop laughing at the viral videos and time to place our phones firmly in our bags and pockets while we walk the streets.

Cathy Cruz Marrero, the woman who tumbled into a fountain while texting and walking in a mall in Pennsylvania, put it this way: "I could have been walking into a bus, a car, a ditch. Anything. Texting and walking -- take it from me -- is dangerous."

For some, texting and walking don't mix

Is it time to declare the death of the iPod?

Apple sued by Taiwanese university in Siri patent infringement

Los Angeles Times Articles