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How Walking and Texting Can Cause Injury to Others

Douglas E. Chabot

In previous blog posts, I have written about the dangers inherent in texting while driving. In this post, I discuss how the action of texting while walking can sometimes cause injury to others. It is often called distracted walking.

When people fail to appreciate their surroundings while walking, they can injure others. If you log on to YouTube, you can see many videos of people burying their heads in their cell phones as they walk down a street. People become oblivious to their surroundings when using their cell phones, leading to potential injuries to others in their path. For example, people who walk while texting tend to veer off course and crash into other pedestrians, such as window shoppers. In fact, a study by Stony Brook University found that distracted walkers deviate off the path by 61%, which suggests that the dual-task of walking while using a cell phone impacts gait and may compromise safety of oneself and others. Talking, checking email, posting on social media and playing games on a cell phone are all causes of distracted walking.

In some cases, texting while walking can lead to serious injuries and even death. I refrained from linking to any videos depicting the worst outcomes of texting while walking, but the danger is obvious. Serious personal injuries and deaths are completely avoidable.

There are easy ways to curb this potential for injury while texting. The most obvious is to never text while walking. If, however, you need to respond to a text, move to the side, find a spot along a wall or even a signpost so you are not blocking other people from walking, and then send your text. It is both amazing and bewildering how many people will stop in the middle of a sidewalk or crosswalk and be completely oblivious or indifferent to what is going on around them. Also, try to avoid wearing headphones while walking so that you are fully aware of the surrounding sounds, such as traffic, which could be an important audio signal along your path. Please take caution to avoid texting while walking to keep yourself and others safe.

If you have suffered an injury because of another person’s carelessness, it is helpful to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney.

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