By Emily Salvatori, Assistant Editor
Texting while walking can seem harmless, especially compared to the more dangerous texting and driving. However, texting and walking can be more dangerous than it seems.
Distracted walking can include texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music. Distracted walking can seem harmless, however statistics say that accidents are on the rise.
The Governors Highways Safety Association recently released the annual report of pedestrian fatalities by state. The preliminary data projects that in 2016, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities from 2015, and a 22 percent increase from 2014.
It has become such an issue that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has expanded its campaign on the dangers of distracted driving to include the dangers of distracted walking. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “One of the challenges in combating distracted walking may be that many Americans are overly confident in their ability to multitask.”
According to the National Safety Council, “Distracted walking injuries involving cell phones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011, making it a significant safety threat. The trend is so alarming that it was included for the first time in the annual National Safety Council statistical report, Injury Facts®, which tracks data around the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths.”
Furthermore, texting and walking is not just dangerous, it’s annoying, too. A study done at Texas A&M University examined gait patterns in distracted walkers.
Conrad Earnest, an author of this study, said, “Distracted people slowed their walking speed, took more steps in their approach to common obstacles, and increased the height of their step to go up steps and over curbs.”
When people are on their phones, they slow down and take smaller and more steps to be cautious. This slowed walking paired with weaving found common with people who are texting and walking is extremely annoying to people surrounding distracted walkers.
Instead of playing on your phone while walking, just put it away. You’ll survive without looking at your phone while walking to class. Paying attention to your surroundings instead of walking while distracted will not only make you less annoying to people around you, but it will also make you safer.