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The Dangers of Texting While…WALKING!

”]In North Carolina, it is illegal to text while driving because the activity is way too distracting to be safe. Now, it seems that it is also dangerous to be distracted by texting, talking, or even listening to music on portable devices…while walking.

It makes sense. Experts estimate that distracted driving is roughly the safety equivalent of driving drunk. It is conceivable that distracted walking might be the equivalent of walking drunk. An article in the News & Observer outlines some of the documented dangers. According to the article, safety experts have developed estimates about the hazards of distracted driving, but there are no solid numbers for pedestrians distracted by their iPods and Androids. But what info is out there is disconcerting:

  • An exchange student at UNC-Chapel Hill who was wearing music headphones as she jogged across the campus in October 2008. She died when she ran into the path of a bus. Investigators concluded that she never heard or saw the danger.
  • Ohio State University researchers reported that 1,000 pedestrians visited hospital emergency rooms in 2008 for injuries they suffered after they tripped or hit something while they were talking or texting on their mobile phones. And that was 2008—the number of people connected to cell phones has increased.
  • A study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that school children using cellphones took 20 percent longer to cross the street and were 20 percent less likely to look both ways. These slow-crossing phone users also were 43 percent more likely to get hit by a car.

The devices can make you virtually blind and deaf to your surroundings. Especially when crossing a busy intersection.

“You need to be aware of your surroundings when you cross the road,” [Kumar Trivedi, head of the bicycle and pedestrian division at the NC Department of Transportation] said. “School is opening up, and the weather is so good that people are walking around. Sometimes we need to remind the public, as we remind our children, what to do and what not to do.”

It is probably too much to ask adults to yank out the earbuds and hang up on phone calls, but it’s a good reminder to be extra cautious.

To read the full article from the News & Observer, click here:  http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/09/13/1483778/texting-while-walking-not-safe.html#ixzz1Xsxzvl7h

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