Commuters are being warned about the dangers of serious injuries and even fatal accidents because of “distracted walking” – walking while texting or surfing the Internet.
A young woman in Wenzhou, China, fell into a river and drowned earlier this year, and concern has been growing globally because of the trend.
‘Digital detox’ campaigners in the UK have been highlighting their fears for pedestrians too, as figures for road traffic accidents due to distracted walking remain worryingly high.
Significant numbers of adults have been injured because they’ve been glued to a screen and walking around in a ‘bubble’, ignoring the outside world. And children are at an even greater risk.
A study conducted by the University of Birmingham looked at injuries to children who crossed the road while using cell phones. It was discovered that students using mobile phones took up to 20% longer to cross the street than children who were not using a phone.
Slow-crossing students with mobiles were up to 43% more likely to be hit by a vehicle while crossing the street, and youngsters often forgot to look both ways when crossing the road. The extra seconds needed to cross the street while texting or reading messages can be fatal.
It’s dangerous to walk around in the office while you’re texting or surfing the net too- you might stumble over the waste paper bin or bump into the filing cabinet! And though it might sound like a joke, tripping accidents are quite common in homes or offices and can result in serious injuries.
Taking photos with a mobile phone can be lethal too. Last Christmas a 33 years-old father of one fell to his death from Sunset Cliffs in San Diego while trying to take a ‘selfie’ on the cliff edge.
So keep your phone under control, and don’t let it control you. Then you’ll live to text another day!