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Maureen May
Maureen May
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Distracted Walking Sending More and More Smartphone Users to the ER

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Most people are familiar with the dangers of distracted driving, but distracted walking, such as texting, emailing, Facebooking, tweeting, and Instagraming accounts for nearly 80 percent of pedestrian injuries in the U.S., according to a 2014 study in the journal Injury Prevention.

A Widespread Problem

It is estimated that over 90 percent of the U.S. population now owns a cell phone, and because many of us are obsessed with not missing out on something that might be important, the distracted walking problem will likely only get worse as society gets more and more tech dependent.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of all adult cellphone users have been affected by a distracted walking encounter, either because they were distracted or they ran across someone who was.

The type of device apparently adds to the distraction. While some 32 percent of smartphone users admitted to distracted walking while they were using their phones, only 14 percent of non-smartphone users reporting having the problem.

What About Multi-Tasking?

Although we all think we are capable of multi-tasking, the human brain does not allow for texting and walking at the same time. Texting changes the way we walk, and a person is not capable of split screen thinking. We are limited to focusing on one task at a time, and when we don’t give that task our full attention, we become distracted.

So it is safe to say that you can walk but not text, or text but not walk, just as you can’t text and drive at the same time. If you get away with doing both, you’re probably just lucky, but your luck likely won’t last forever.