Our phones may be getting smarter, but it appears we are losing intelligence when we use them. Perhaps doing things we know aren’t good for us is an irreversible human trait – eating junk foods, speeding, smoking cigarettes and staring at our phones when we should be paying attention to walking. Multi-tasking is hard; other than involuntary processes such as breathing or blinking, simultaneously performing numerous actions comes with risks.
It only takes a few seconds while typing on your cell phone to become distracted. One study found that students who used their mobile phones during class lectures tended to write down less information, recall less information, and perform worse on a multiple-choice test than those students who abstained from using their mobile phones during class. Utah Valley University, home to 30,000 students and the largest in the state, has taken an “if you can’t fight them, join them” approach. In an attempt to reduce injuries and frustration while getting students to think about the issue, it has installed designated lanes on campus staircases for walking, running and texting.
Lawmakers and public safety organizations have been working for years to raise awareness about how dangerous it can be to use a mobile device while walking. A study of over 34,000 students crossing the street in a school zone found that one in five high schoolers and one in eight middle schoolers crossed the street while distracted, and 39 percent of them were distracted because they were texting. Research from Ohio State University showed cell phone use by pedestrians led to more than 1,000 emergency-room visits nationwide in 2008. Earlier this year, a 45-year old woman fell off a pier while texting and walking and had to be rescued from Lake Michigan, and people in Fort Lee, NJ are being ticketed $85 for careless walking.
The huge increase in cell phone use over the past 15 years is undoubtedly associated with the dramatic rise in distracted-walking injuries, causing people “to trip, cross roads unsafely, or walk into motionless objects such as street signs, doors or walls.” Being distracted by your mobile device reduces situational awareness and could result in anything from minor embarrassment to serious injury. Is it worth the risk?
If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at the Macon, GA-based Mann Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or through our online form.