In Southern California it's pretty clear we have a texting-while-driving problem. The activity actually became more popular after it was outlawed in the Golden State, according to a survey released this summer. And, of course, it's dangerous, adding up to thousands of deaths each year.
But as the millennial generation gets less and less into cars and more and more into gadgets, a scary thing is happening.
Texting while walking is becoming a huge danger:
A study published late this summer in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention found that injuries from texting while walking have doubled in five years, reaching a high of 1,500 hospitalizations.
During the same period, other pedestrian injuries actually decreased. And the researchers, from Ohio State University, think texting-while-walking injuries are under-reported.
Maybe you're embarrassed to tell.
A summary of the report lists injuries like these:
One 14-year-old boy walking down a road while talking on a cell phone fell 6 to 8 feet off a bridge into a rock-strewn ditch, suffering chest and shoulder injuries. A 23-year-old man was struck by a car while walking on the middle line of a road and talking on a cell phone, injuring his hip.
Young people — ahem — are more likely to be injured, the academics reported:
The 21- to 25-year-old age group led the way, with 1,003 total injuries during the seven years covered by this study. The 16- to 20-year-olds were not far behind, with 985 total injuries.
Researchers used U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission data from 100 hospitals across America. Jack Nasar, co-author of the study and professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State, says:
If current trends continue, I wouldn't be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again …
One cure: Look up. Basic stuff, people.