Distracted driving has become such a concern that many states now have statutes outlawing texting while driving. According to data from the NHTSA, nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed and another 76,000 were injured in traffic collisions in the year 2012. While it is unclear how many of these pedestrians were texting while walking, there are some sobering facts. In 2008, more than 1,000 people were injured badly enough to seek medical attention at an emergency room as a result of injuries sustained while texting while walking. The problem has gotten so bad that some towns have made walking while texting a finable offense.
The New York Times reports that the act of “twalking” is dangerous and how you can stop.
Last year, pedestrian deaths were at their highest since 1990. The chief culprits behind the increase in these traffic fatalities were larger vehicles and distracted drivers.
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Distracted walking is a relatively new area of research. There have been few studies done into just how dangerous texting while walking may be. One study, published in 2013 by the University of Maryland found that between 2000 and 2011, hundreds of people visited emergency rooms. The cause of their visit was most often a fall that occurred while texting and walking.
As far as how to stop the potentially dangerous behavior, there are some suggestions. Most are related to mindfulness exercises.
Ask yourself these questions before paying attention to your cell phone:
- Is this important enough to be doing right now?
- Am I going to cause myself harm?
- Am I allowing tech devices to control my life?
You might also want to turn off notifications for all apps except those that are related to work.
According to the National Safety Council, if you’re walking and simply must answer a text or read an email, the safest thing to do is to stop walking and find a safe place to stand.