We have written in several previous issues about the hazards created by texting and driving a vehicle. It’s now well recognized that texting and driving simply don’t mix. But texting and walking is also a known danger. Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo, says distracted walking actually results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving. Consequences include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter or stepping into traffic. Dr. Jehle, who is also an attending physician at Erie County Medical Center, a regional trauma center in Western New York observed:
When texting, you’re 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.
Although injuries from car accidents involving texting are often more severe, Dr. Jehle says that physical harm resulting from texting and walking occurs more frequently. Dr. Jehle explains that pedestrians face three types of distraction:
Dr. Jehle says he has seen first-hand in his practice the rise of cell phone-related injuries. Tens of thousands of pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms across the nation each year. Dr. Jehle believes as many as 10 percent of those visits result from accidents involving cell phones. He says the number of mishaps involving texting and walking is likely higher than official statistics suggest. That’s because patients tend to underreport information about themselves when it involves a behavior that is somewhat embarrassing. An injury occurring while a person is walking down a street and texting would certainly fall into that category.
Source: Claims Journal
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