'Distracted Walking' More Dangerous Than Distracted Driving?

Researchers say 2M may have been injured in 2010

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2013 12:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – You've heard of distracted driving, but distracted walking may actually be more dangerous, according to a new study. Cellphone use while strolling about sent more than 1,500 people to the ER in 2010, a figure that has almost tripled since 2004. Researchers expect it to hit 3,000 by 2015—and, they say, that number doesn't come close to actual injuries, since most pedestrians don't hit up the ER—or they don't cop to the cellphone use. The real figure was likely around 2 million in 2010, the Atlantic reports. But even the 1,500 estimate is higher than the 1,162 injuries attributed to distracted drivers that year.

"People really cannot multitask," one researcher tells LiveScience. Some amusing examples noted in hospital case studies include, "28-year-old male walked into pole talking on phone and lacerated brow" and "14-year-old male walking down road talking on cell phone, fell 6-8 ft. off bridge into ditch." In fact, most injuries, almost 70%, happened while people were talking on the phone as opposed to texting, which was blamed in just 9% of the incidents. Not surprisingly, most injuries involved people under age 31.

1,500 people were sent to the ER in 2010 for 'distracted walking.'   (Shutterstock)
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