1 in 3 Pedestrians Living Dangerously By Texting While Crossing the Road

Study finds Seattle residents on mobile devices aren’t looking twice when venturing across the street

You know not to drink and drive, or text and drive, but it’s also dangerous to text and walk. Yes, even on foot, your handheld device can prove to be an accident waiting to happen.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 1,100 people wound up in hospitals or emergency rooms last year as a result of injuries that occurred while they were using a mobile device and walking.

And a recent study of  pedestrians in Washington state found that about one in three people were distracted by their cellphones at high-risk intersections, reports The Seattle Times. Only one in four people looked both ways and obeyed light signals. The report also found that texters took longer to cross and were four times less likely to look before crossing, obey lights or cross at the appropriate place, said Dr. Beth Ebel, study co-author and director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center of the University of Washington. Pedestrians who were listening to music while crossing actually crossed the street at a faster pace than texters but they, too, didn’t look both ways.

Dr. Ebel’s study, which observed 1,102 people in Seattle at 20 busy intersections at randomly selected times, was published in the medical journal Injury Prevention this week.

With ad campaigns focused on risky-tech behavior such as talking or text messaging while driving, we’ll see if steps will be taken to prevent walking-induced accidents.

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