In 2015, Conrad Earnest, a research scientist at Texas A&M University’s Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab, conducted a study focused on texting and walking. His team found, “when compared with non-distracted walkers, texting and cognitively-distracted walkers slowed down, took more steps and increased the height of their steps to go over obstacles.” With the data, the researchers hypothesized that the slow pace coupled with path deviations will ultimately result in a trip-and-fall accident.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) has launched a campaign against distracted walking. The organization reports that 78 percent of adults in the United States feel distracted walking is a very real issue, but only 29 percent admitted they are a part of the problem. The researchers stated that millennials aged 18 to 34 were most likely to be injured in distracted walking incidents, and women over the age of 55 were most likely to suffer serious injuries.
The growing issue has started to gain legal attention. A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation to punish distracted walkers, wherein people who are texting and crossing a street would receive a $50 fine and possible jail time.
In 2015, AAOS launched its public service announcement campaign “Digital Deadwalkers” which includes television and radio advertisements that “humorously but effectively highlight what can happen when people talk, text, listen to music, or focus on anything or anyone other than getting where they need to go.” The campaign will air through the end of this year. To date, the PSAs have reached more than 723 million viewers and listeners.
Pedestrians who text while walking are not the only ones at fault. Pokémon Go, the augmented reality application first released in July 2016, uses GPS to help players locate, capture, battle and train Pokémon in the real world. The app has been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide and has become the fastest game to make $500 million in revenue. However, the worldwide success of the app is not helping matters for distracted walkers. People have suffered various injuries from accidents related to the game, and even worse.
Safety Tips for Walkers
To practice safe and alert walking as a pedestrian, consider the following:
- Avoid jaywalking
- Look up, not down
- While you walk, focus on the people, objects and obstacles around you
- Use cross streets mindfully, during light traffic when possible
- Stay alert in parking lots and near streets as you might not be visible to a driver
Distracted walking is appearing to be just as dangerous as distracted driving. Whether it be augmented reality or a quick text to your lunch date, be mindful of the space around you.
The Azrael Franz personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have extensive experience in car accidents, vehicle-related injuries and wrongful death claims. Azrael Franz vigorously protects the legal rights of victims and their families to make certain that the responsible parties are held accountable for the damage they have caused. For more information, contact Jud Lipowitz or Keith Franz today.