Study: Texting while walking more dangerous than talking on phone
Using your phone as you walk is more likely to cause an accident than
taking a call or listening to music, researchers have warned, after
analyzing the causes behind hundreds of pedestrian mishaps. Texting was
associated with a higher rate of near misses and a failure to look left
and right when crossing the road, the study found. By comparison,
talking on the phone was associated with only a small increase in time
taken to cross a road safely, and listening to music had no notable
impact on pedestrian safety. The researchers, from the University of
Calgary in Canada, say their findings need further investigation, noting
that "pedestrian distraction" is an increasing problem in towns and
cities around the world.
"Given the ubiquity of smartphones, social media, apps, digital video and streaming music, which has infiltrated most aspects of daily life, distracted walking and street crossing will be a road safety issue for the foreseeable future," the authors wrote. Around 270,000 pedestrians die every year globally, making up about a fifth of all road traffic deaths, the team said. Their study was published Monday in the journal Injury Prevention.
"Do groups or packs of pedestrians shield those among them who are distracted or do groups assume that other group members are paying attention?" the authors asked in the study, outlining areas in which further research was needed. "Are children and teens more at risk while distracted? Are elderly pedestrians who are distracted and slower more prone to conflicts with vehicles?" they asked (without answering).