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Wendy Bumgardner

Texting While Walking Makes Street Crossings Less Safe

By December 17, 2012

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Texting MessageMore people are texting while walking, and it may contribute to unsafe pedestrian behavior. A study just published by the journal Injury Prevention observed over 1000 people crossing an intersection. Those who were texting while crossing took almost two extra seconds to cross, 18% slower than average and were 3.9 times more likely to display an unsafe crossing behavior. These include disobeying the lights, crossing mid-intersection, or failing to look both ways. More people were texting (7.3%) vs. talking on a handheld phone (6.2%).

Only one in four people observed all four pedestrian safety rules.
Rules for Safe Walking

Interestingly, those who were listening to music crossed a half second faster than average.

Leah L Thompson, Frederick P Rivara, Rajiv C Ayyagari, Beth E Ebel, "Impact of social and technological distraction on pedestrian crossing behaviour: an observational study." Inj Prev Published Online First: 13 December 2012 doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040601

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