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Mike Bryant
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Cellphone-distracted Walking is Now Being Reviewed

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This year the National Safety Council has started to track cellphone-distracted walking in the determinations for why pedestrians are hit by cars:

Distracted walking injuries involving cell phones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011[ii], making it a significant safety threat. The trend is so alarming that it was included for the first time in the annual National Safety Council statistical report, Injury Facts®, which tracks data around the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths.

The best advice to follow:

  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
  • If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk
  • Never cross the street while using an electronic device
  • Do not walk with headphones on
  • Be aware of the surroundings
  • Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available; if a child must walk on the street, he or she should face oncoming traffic
  • Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street
  • Cross only at crosswalks

Here in Minnesota we are seeing an increase consistent with the increase nationally.  The Minneapolis Tribune reported:

Inattentive walkers take longer to cross the street and are more likely to ignore traffic lights or fail to look both ways. Such risky behavior has caused the percentage of pedestrians killed while using cellphones to rise from less than 1 percent in 2004 to more than 3.5 percent in 2010, according to Ohio State University research cited in a report earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The same research also found that injuries among cellphone-using pedestrians jumped from 256 in 2005 to more than 1,500 in 2010.

It is important that you remain alert and keep your head up and out of the phone.