The New York Times has run an excellent series of articles looking into the risks of using cellphones and other internet connected devices while driving, and they’ve included an interesting article looking at the risks involved when pedestrians use their phones.
“Inattention blindness” is the term for zoning out about your surroundings when preoccupied with something else. It’s the phenomena of finding yourself in the driveway with no recollection of the commute home, and it’s now afflicting pedestrians as they talk – or text – while walking.
According to a study conducted by Ohio State University, just over 1,000 pedestrians spent time in emergency rooms in 2008 because they got distracted and tripped, fell or ran into something while using a cellphone to talk or text. That represents twice the number of reported in 2007, which had nearly doubled from 2006. And that’s just the “tip of the iceberg” said professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State Jack L. Nasar, as most accidents don’t require hospital visits.
Expect the risks to rise as increasing functionality in cell phones and rapidly expanding mobile applications designed to connect and entertain, encourage more people to be looking at their phones more often than the pavement.
Read the full New York Times article here.