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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Distracted Walking

With the Coeur d'Alene City Council considering a ban on cell phone use while driving, this article from The Boston Globe couldn't have been timelier.

From The Boston Globe:

"Distracted driving has gained much attention lately because of the inflated crash risk posed by drivers using cellphones to talk and text.

But there is another growing problem caused by lower-stakes multitasking - distracted walking - which combines a pedestrian, an electronic device, and an unseen crack in the sidewalk, the pole of a stop sign, a toy left on the living room floor, or a parked (or sometimes moving) car.

Slightly more than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 because they got distracted and tripped, fell, or ran into something while using a cellphone to talk or text. That was twice the number from 2007, which had nearly doubled from 2006, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University, which says it is the first to estimate such accidents.

Sometimes, pedestrians using their phones do not notice objects or people right in front of them, even a clown riding a unicycle. That was the finding of a recent study at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., by a psychology professor, Ira Hyman, and his students.

One of the students dressed as a clown and unicycled around a central square on campus. About half the people walking in the square by themselves said they had seen the clown, and the number was slightly higher for people walking in pairs. But only 25 percent of people talking on a cellphone said they had, Hyman said."

Be careful out there people, there are more dangerous things than clowns on unicycles!

1 comment:

  1. Although it is sometimes hilarious to see someone walk into a telephone pole, we really do need to pay better attention.