As cell phones become ever more entrenched in modern day life, humorous anecdotes about the clumsy antics of people attempting to send text messages while walking are increasingly common. The American College of Emergency Physicians insists, however, that the stumbling, falling and colliding with inanimate objects and other people that results from walking and texting is often nothing to laugh about.
Many of the people involved in texting and walking accidents are seriously injured, requiring treatment at hospital emergency rooms across the United States. A San Francisco woman was killed as a result of distracted walking when she unknowingly stepped off the curb in front of a moving bus. Walkers concentrating on sending a text message are not giving their full attention to where they’re headed, research shows, even if they’re able to type without looking at the keypad. Composing or reading a text message or email requires attention and coordination that is needed for avoiding accidents and obstacles while navigating a sidewalk or other public area. Attempting to multitask while performing a physical activity slows reaction time and reduces awareness of the immediate surroundings, making it more difficult to avoid dangerous situations.
To avoid the risk of an accident when walking as well as driving, safety experts recommend turning cellphones off before performing any task that involves full concentration. If a text message must be sent immediately, finding a safe stopping place before turning on the phone is crucial for avoiding an accident or injury.