Researchers found that in 2008, around 1 trillion text messages were sent in America and around 1,000 visits were made to emergency rooms because of accidents that occurred involving people who were texting while walking.
The Boston Globe reported that another recent study found that close to 23 percent of people surveyed admitted to tripping or falling while texting.
Even though texting while driving has been banned in Massachusetts, the number of people sending text messages this year is estimated to top 2 trillion, which means that there will probably be even more “pedestrian texting” accidents.
Of the injuries occurring from pedestrian texting, the most common are caused by tripping over obstacles, falls, colliding with objects such as light poles and walls or other pedestrians and even moving vehicle accidents, the researchers found.
Although distracted pedestrians who are texting usually just end up bruising their egos, like one Boston teen who ran into a light post while texting on the way to a Red Sox game, more serious accidents have also been reported.
One young woman from Brighton was stuck in a cast for eight weeks after she broke her hand when she tripped while texting near Park Street station.
In other parts of the country, a texting teen in Florida walked out in front of a car and was killed in 2008, and in 2009, a New York girl fell into an open manhole filled with raw sewage while texting.
Then of course there is the Pennsylvania woman who was texting in a shopping mall when she tumbled into the mall’s fountain and then became an Internet sensation after security guards posted the footage online.
Several groups have recognized the danger that texting while walking causes pedestrians, including the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Governors Highway Safety Association. However, despite the effort by many lawmakers, there have not been any laws passed banning texting while walking as of yet, the Boston Globe reported.
Even so, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians summed it up nicely: “[Texting] is best done in a stationary position.”
Source: The Boston Globe, “Caution: Texting on foot a hazard,” Beth Teitell, 5/17/2011.