While many drivers are encouraged to sign a pledge against texting and driving, they should also be aware of the increasing problem of texting while walking. Whether you're walking downtown or in a busy shopping mall, you are bound to find someone glued to their phone while walking, and many of us are unaware that distracted walking is a real danger.
In fact, pedestrians are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross at designated areas, or obey traffic signals, according to a study at the University of Washington. Researchers also found that texting pedestrians take longer to cross the street. In fact, texting pedestrians took an average of two seconds longer to cross the road, which could increase their chances of hitting a car. This texting while walking phenomenon is growing into a national epidemic where one out of every three pedestrians use their cell phone while crossing busy streets.
While many states have banned texting while driving, the next step is to ensure pedestrian safety by implementing new policies, starting a pedestrian safety campaign, and broadening jaywalking laws.
"We all see the problem. And yet, many of us contribute to this problem. I think the place to start with this is with ourselves. When you're texting, you're really not looking. ... You're drawn into the world of the answer you're sending back to somebody, and you're simply not paying attention." said lead researcher Dr. Beth Ebel, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington.
For more information about pedestrian safety and injury prevention, go to http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/index.html