60-Second Tech

Distracted Pedestrian ER Visits Rise

The number of gadget-distracted walkers injured seriously enough to be treated at emergency rooms has quadrupled in the past seven years. Larry Greenemeier reports

With more and more car accidents attributed to "distracted driving" it's become clear just how dangerous it can be to fiddle with your cell phone while behind the wheel. Now it seems more and more people are failing to safely use their mobile gadgets while walking.

The number of distracted walkers injured seriously enough to be treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years, according to the Associated Press.

That's not even counting the untold incidents of stubbing your toe or doing that little trip-run move across the sidewalk.

These hospital cases are people who get hit by cars, fall off curbs or even onto train tracks because they're too busy texting, surfing the Web or in some other way too distracted to watch where they're going. There were about 1,150 such incidents last year. 

There isn't any hard evidence yet that proves pedestrian gadget distraction increases the chances of pedestrian mishaps. Still, it's hard to argue with the anecdotal evidence available at the nearest street corner. Perhaps you’ve seen the video of the walker in California who’s concentrating so hard on his mobile device that he almost bumps into a bear? Don’t be that guy.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]     

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