Everyone is always talking about texting while driving. But what about texting while walking? It may sound silly, but texting while walking is actually a bigger deal than you might think.

How bad is it?

Actually, bad enough that people are now hired to prevent pedestrians from walking into traffic.

Manny Fiori is an example of this type of guard; he is hired to guard an entrance to a garage near a San Francisco office to stop cars from hitting pedestrians that are so focused on their screens that they wouldn’t notice disaster coming straight towards them. He even holds both arms out to stop both cars and pedestrians at the same time.

One morning, some Wall Street Journal reporters watched the morning rush hour traffic at the entrance of the same office where Fiori works. Seventy people never looked up, as they casually walked by, while watching TV shows, typing messages, or browsing the web. Mr. Fiori prevented 5 of them from getting hit by cars.

Germans even have a word for these kinds of pedestrians: “smombie,” which means “smartphone zombie.”

How bad is it in terms of numbers?

According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency room visits involving pedestrians distracted by their cellphones while walking were up 124% in 2014 from 2010. Research estimates that portable electronics such as smartphones and tablets account for 10% of pedestrian injuries and even cause 6 deaths per year. Distracted driving cause more severe injuries, but incidents among texting and walking pedestrians is actually more common. CEO of the nonprofit National Safety Council stated, “we aren’t talking about bumps and bruises, these are people who are straining muscles, dislocating joints and breaking bones.”

And of course, walking while looking at your screen changes the way you walk.

Even Chewbacca goes unnoticed

The same Wall Street reporter had a colleague to wander around dressed up like Chewbacca out on the San Francisco streets during his morning commute to work. Many of the pedestrians who had been walking while looking at their screens never saw the Chewbacca wandering around.

A psychologist at Western Washington University said that this is called, “inattentional blindness.” Back in 2008, he held done one of the first studies of cellphone-distraction tests, where he asked a clown on a unicycle to wander around campus. Half of the ones not using a cell phone saw the clown, but only a quarter of people talking on the phone saw it.

Texting and walking is dangerous too. Make sure you keep your head up, especially during the morning rush. If you someone you know has be involved in an accident while walking, biking, or driving, call us at 1-800-INJURED, so we can connect you to a Miami auto accident attorney. Our network can provide you with an attorney anywhere in Florida who has over 35 years of experience. We can help you find a whiplash attorney who will help you obtain worker’s compensation, and send you to one of our network’s medical center so you can get treated as fast as possible.

Category: Personal Injury