A few weeks ago, I did a post on the dangers of texting while driving. Thousands of people are killed every year by distracted drivers (Research shows that using a cell phone while driving has about the same effect on the driver’s ability to focus and react as having a few beers).
But texters can do plenty of damage to themselves and others without getting behind the wheel. In fact, texting–or checking email or even talking on the phone–while doing just about anything else is dangerous. According to Beth Ebel and her colleagues at the University of Washington, 30 percent of pedestrians are distracted in some way ( observed more than 1,000 pedestrians crossing busy streets at a variety of randomly chosen times. Thirty percent of pedestrians were distracted in some way–listening to music, texting or talking on the phone. How distracted were they? According to Ebel and her team, people whose head is buried in their phone cross the street more slowly than those without phones (about two seconds longer), are less likely to look left and right before stepping into the street, and are more likely to jaywalk. And the results can be horrific.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4,000 distracted pedestrians are killed each year and 60,000 are injured. The CDC also just released stats showing that the number of accidental injuries to kids under five went up more than 12 percent between 2007 and 2010–the same time period when smart phone usage took off. Parents have their faces buried so deep in electronics that they can’t pay attention to their kids.
The series of pics below are a great example. Young celebrity mom pushing her baby in the stroller while talking on the phone. Something happens, the stroller goes over, and baby gets dumped head first on the sidewalk. And through it all, mom never puts down the phone.