ST LOUIS (LALATE) – “Distracted walking” injuries from cellphone use is on the rise, officials tell news. But distracted walking data is far from complete, researchers report. Officials tell news today that distracted walking is a dramatic health risk with far less data available to analyze the problem.
Distracted walking has become a term to refer to persons so enthralled with their cellphone texting or talking in public that they are unaware of their surroundings. But a University of Maryland study ruled that the term can apply to non-cellphone devices as well, namely headphones. With new headphones driving sales nationally, researchers found 116 cases in six years of pedestrians killed or injured while wearing headphones.
Officials warn the number of persons injured from distracted walking with smartphones is unclear. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission found 1,152 cases of hospitalization last year alone, the agency told news this month.
Yet officials are concerned the data is still not out there for researchers. Many compare it to cellphones and car data from a decade when researchers perceived a risk but didn’t have all the data.
Cities, however, are battling the situation head on with fines and signs. In Delaware, there are signs up at crosswalks that read “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.” Of course, if the persons are not paying attention to traffic, why will they pay attention to signs?