Distracted Walking Dangers

There are plenty of warnings circulating about the dangers of distracted driving.
But there

Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre shares a text message from his nephew with the media during a press conference Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 Rye Brook, N.Y. On Thursday Torre rejected a contract offer from the Yankees to return as manager. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

You may have seen this video of a woman tumbling right into a fountain at the mall while she's texting.

It might make you chuckle, but Consumer Reports says, "Phones Put Pedestrians in a Fog."

In fact, Kim Kleman with Consumer Reports warns, "Clearly, drivers aren't the only people distracted by electronic devices. Pedestrians are, too, and it can be dangerous."

In a just-released nationwide poll, Consumer Reports found that 85 percent of Americans had recently seen someone use a mobile device to talk, text, e-mail, or use apps while walking.

Of those who had witnessed such behavior - 52% said that the pedestrians endangered themselves or others.

Kim adds, "The numbers are hard to pin down, but injuries occurring while pedestrians are using a mobile device appear to be going up."

A project by a former Ohio State University graduate student estimates that injuries of non-motorized people -- mostly pedestrians - distracted by cell phones are increasing by more than 180 a year.

Kim explains, "Falling into a fountain might be funny. What's not funny, though, is when you hear stories of people walking and texting when they're crossing the street."

After reading about several fatalities that authorities suggest were related to distracted walking, Audrey Cole says she won't text and walk at all anymore.

She says, "I don't think it matters where you live or what your town is like, I just think that a pedestrian in today's times must be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. And it's foolish to not be looking up."

Now Audrey does exactly what Consumer Reports suggests and acts like a driver - pulling over to answer a call or text.

Authorities in some cities are starting to crack down on distracted walkers -- giving out tickets to pedestrians who walk and talk or walk and text.

There is no such city ordinance in Colorado Springs, but in Utah crossing train tracks while talking or texting on a cell phone could earn you a $50 fine.

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