A study published by BMJ Journals on the hazards of mobile technology cites that texting pedestrians are nearly four times less likely to look both ways before crossing the street, to obey traffic lights, or to cross at designated areas than those who are undistracted. The study concluded that while distracting activities, such as listening to music, texting, or talking on the phone, are common among pedestrians, they also increase crossing times and impair safety, which in turn increase the risk of danger and injury.
The study, which recorded crossing behaviors for 1,100 pedestrians in Seattle, Washington last summer, found that nearly one-third of all pedestrians performed a distracting activity while crossing the street, including listening to music (11.2%), text messaging (7.3%) and using a handheld phone (6.2%). Those who texted needed an additional 1.87 seconds to cross an intersection, compared to undistracted pedestrians, while pedestrians listening to music walked more than half a second faster than those who weren’t.
Smartphone use is on the rise, and there is a clear association to mobile device distractions impacting cautionary behaviors and crossing times in pedestrians. Remember to always be aware of your surroundings. As a whole, we preach distracted driving is very dangerous, but the same can be said for distracted pedestrians as well.
Source: BMJ Journals, Injury Prevention: Impact of social and technological distraction on pedestrian crossing behavior.
Study done by the University of Washington. Read the full study here.