So we all know distracted driving can be dangerous — even deadly — but how about distracted walking?
It is something I have considered, after having personally walked into a utility pole while texting (sad, but true). It turns out, I am not alone.
At a Philadelphia-area train station, a young man talking on a cell phone lost his balance at the edge of a train platform one night. He fell over the side, landing head first on the tracks. Lucky for him, there was no train nearby. Video of the incident was captured last year by a security camera and provided to the Associated Press. The accident reaffirms the risks of what government officials and safety experts refer to as distracted walking.
The next time you are out, check out your surroundings, even if you have to put away your own smart phone to do so. You will see people of all ages texting, emailing or talking while walking down the sidewalk or even across a busy street. Whether you are walking around the Madison County Courthouse in downtown Huntsville, Bridge Street Town Centre, or working out at at a fitness center, you will see plenty of people putting themselves, and possibly others, at risk due to their cell phone distractions.
While there is no concrete data to back up how many pedestrians have been killed in accidents directly related to distracted walking, the AP reports there has been a spike in pedestrian deaths over the past seven years.
“We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn’t have the data,” Jonathan Akins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, told the AP.
State and local lawmakers are trying to figure out how to respond. Now some are even asking how far government should go in trying to protect people from themselves.
Texting while driving in many states, including Alabama, is illegal. (For information on texting laws in other states, click here.) While banning texting while walking is not likely, the dangers of distracted walking are real and definitely worth noting.