Distracted Walking Dangers

There are plenty of warnings circulating about the dangers of distracted driving. But there's another risky behavior with cell phones that can be hazardous to your health as well, distracted walking!

Consumer Reports says it's a growing problem.

It was a popular video on YouTube, a woman tumbling right into a fountain at the mall while texting. It might make you chuckle, but Consumer Reports says phones put pedestrians in a fog.

Kim Kleman of Consumer Reports says, "Clearly, drivers aren't the only people distracted by electronic devices. Pedestrians are, too, and it can be dangerous."

In a just-released nationwide poll, Consumer Reports found that 85 percent of Americans had recently seen someone use a mobile device to talk, text, email or use apps while walking. Of those who had witnessed such behavior, 52 percent said that pedestrians endangered themselves or others.

Kleman says, "The numbers are hard to pin down, but injuries occurring while pedestrians are using a mobile device appear to be going up."

A project by a former Ohio State University graduate student estimates that injuries of non-motorized people, mostly pedestrians, distracted by cell phones are increasing by more than 180 a year.

Kleman says, "Falling into a fountain might be funny. What's not funny though is when you hear stories of people walking and texting when they're crossing the street."

After reading about several fatalities that authorities suggest were related to distracted walking, Audrey Cole says she won't text and walk at all anymore. "I don't think it matters where you live or what your town is like, I just think that a pedestrian in today's times must be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. And it's foolish to not be looking up."

No, Audrey does exactly what Consumer Reports suggests and acts like a driver, pulling over to answer a call or text.

Authorities in some cities are starting to crack down on distracted walkers, giving out tickets to pedestrians who walk and talk or walk and text. In Utah, for example, crossing train tracks while talking or texting on a cell phone could earn you a $50 fine.

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