Distracted driving shouldn’t be our only concern anymore. According to a report from the National Safety Council, the number of injuries from cellphone use has increased from fewer than 500 reported incidents in 2000 to more than 2,000 in 2011. It is estimated that about 80 percent of such injuries result from falls.
More and more, people are looking at their cellphones while walking out on the street. “This distraction can cause [pedestrians] to trip, cross roads unsafely or walk into motionless objections such as street signs, doors or walls,” the report warns. Even the Urban Dictionary has caught onto this new problem, naming the phenomenon “Pedtextrian”. However, while many of the injuries do occur on our streets, more than half of distracted walking injuries are occurring in people’s homes.
An estimated ten percent of these pedestrian injuries result in emergency room visits. The number of emergency room visits for distracted walkers doubled between 2005 and 2015. National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah Hersman told CBS News that the most common injuries from distracted walking include sprains and concussions, although many people suffer broken bones and dislocations.
A mall security camera captured a woman looking at her phone walk right into a fountain. A video reveals a man talking on his cell phone as he walks right off of a train platform. In San Diego, Joshua Burwell took a fatal fall 40 feet off of Sunset Cliffs. The investigators believe he was trying to take a picture of the sunset when he fell.
Just like with distracted driving, a change in behavior starts with us – the adults. Our children will learn from us and model their behavior after ours. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2009, early adolescents are using cell phones with increasing frequency. Pedestrian distracted driving is a huge concern when it comes to our children. After school dismissal each day, many children will be walking distracted and as drivers, we must be on alert. We must also talk to our children about such dangers.