According to a new study, texting while walking is actually more dangerous than texting and driving. While the dangers of texting and driving have been examined by many studies, a recent study at the University of Buffalo found that texting and walking causes more injuries per mile than texting and driving. Texting and walking increases risk of bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping, or even stepping into traffic, according to a press statement issued by the university.
Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo, asserts that when texting and walking one is “not as in control with the complex actions of walking. While talking on the phone is a distraction, texting is much more dangerous because you can’t see the path in front of you.”
The researchers went on to clarify that, though the injuries from texting and driving are more severe, harm from texting and walking occurs at a much higher rate. Those who walk and text are vulnerable to three types of distraction:
- The first distraction is manual, or when they are physically doing something else.
- The second is visual, when they are looking at something else.
- The third is cognitive, when they are mentally focused on something else.
The study goes on to reveal that when people used their cell phones while walking, they were 61 percent more likely to go off course, and 13 percent more likely to to overshoot their target, compared to when they were not distracted.
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Each year, thousands of pedestrians are admitted to emergency rooms; according to the researchers who worked on the study, about 10 percent of these pedestrians are admitted because of cell phone related accidents. The increased popularity of social networking has not been friend to this cause, as well as the use of smart phones with 4g internet. With this, people can access the internet wherever they are. It is increasingly common to see someone walking down the street, head down, scrolling through Twitter or Facebook.
Research also uncovered that people who do engage in surfing social networks on their phones while walking are mainly from the 16-30 age group. Many laws have been written that are against texting while walking, but they are almost always strongly voted down.
Though most studies like this focus on texting and driving, this is not the first study to focus on texting and walking. The University of Queensland conducted a similar study, which found that texting and walking affects a person’s gait, which can prove dangerous in high traffic places.
Siobhan M. Schabrun, an honorary senior fellow at the University of Queensland and the lead author of the study, asserts that “texting, and to a lesser extent reading, on your mobile phone affects your ability to walk and balance. This may impact the safety of people who text and walk at the same time.”