Dangers of distracted walking

From the Well blog at the New York Times:

Driving a car while talking or texting on a cellphone is a widely recognized risk factor for accidents. Now a new study reports that a growing number of people who walk while talking or texting are ending up in the emergency room.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects detailed case information from a sample of emergency rooms across the country, researchers estimated the number of pedestrians nationwide who were injured seriously enough while using cellphones to be treated in an emergency room from 2004 to 2010.

They found that the number of injuries increased yearly during that time,  to 1,506 in 2010 from 559 in 2004. The damage ranged from minor to serious — abrasions, sprains, concussions, seizures and fractures. Over the six years, about two-thirds of those injured were younger than 25. The findings appeared in the August issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

“I think parents need to teach their children safe texting,” said the lead author, Jack L. Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State. “Just like they say, ‘Look both ways before crossing,’ they should say, ‘Stop and stand off to the side when you text or talk.’”

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