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Study: Distracted walking more dangerous than distracted driving

Much has been said about the dangers of distracted driving. Texting while driving has garnered such national attention that it is almost the taboo that drinking and driving has become. Countless campaigns calling for drivers to put their cell phones down while behind the wheel have been endorsed by celebrities, lawmakers and insurance corporations alike.

Even with the attention that distracted driving has gained, it is distracted walking that is most dangerous. While our readers may have quizzical looks when coming across this sentence, there are scientific findings that support this notion. 

According to a study conducted by Ohio State University researchers, pedestrians who were engrossed in their cell phone conversations were more likely to be involved in accidents because their attention is so focused on what is being said over the phone that they may not notice hazards that they usually would see if they were not so distracted. 

They found that nearly 70 percent of pedestrian accidents involving cell phones  occurred when people were talking on them. This revelation was suprising given how prevalent texting has become (especially among millenials). In fact, between 2004 and 2010, the number of these accidents increased dramatically, from 256 to 1,506.

One thing that the researchers considered was the number of unreported accidents (i.e. those who did not seek medical care). They estimated that as many as 2 million pedestrians were injured while talking on cell phones. 

With the downward trend in distracted driving accidents, many hope that the same trend will apply to pedestrians. 

Source: TheAtlantic.com, Study: Distracted walking causes more injuries than distracted driving, June 20, 2013

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