Distracted driving has become the defining safety issue of modern day roads. Just think back to the last time you drove on the road and didn’t see someone using their phone in some manner. For many people, it’s been awhile. But one other type of dangerous activity tends to get overlooked: distracted walking.
A new report in The Atlantic showcases new research out of Ohio State University. In compiling the data for the study, researchers analyzed the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System with an eye toward cellphone mishaps that brought an individual into the emergency room. Deriving the necessary information involved looking at bicycle, vehicle, and pedestrian injuries from 2004 through 2010.
In 2005, the number of injuries related to distracted walking is estimated to be 256. But by 2010, that number rose to 1,506, right alongside an increase in the number of distracted driver injuries. And what might be surprising to some people is the fact that only 9.1% of the these pedestrian injuries could be attributed to texting. A whopping 69.5% simply involved an individual carrying on a conversation, in person or on the phone.
The researchers theorize that far more injuries than what were reported actually occurred. In fact, when taking into account fatalities and those who did not submit to an emergency room, it’s believed that up to two million people might have suffered a distracted walking injury.