Thursday, June 20, 2013

Distracted (Texting & Talking) Walking - No Sympathy Here

We see it every day. People looking down at their phones or are in deep conversation as they walk down the street or through a mall. Many times, we see these people walk right into obstacles or even down stairs. They walk straight into intersections because they're so busy texting or reading their latest text. They don't hear cars honking because their phone conversation has all their attention.

And you know what? I'm afraid I'm going to say that if they walk into a telephone pole or fall down the stairs because of their behaviour, I'm not going to feel sorry for them. Unfortunately though - the damage doesn't stop just with them. Their stupidity and selfishness (I *must* take the call/read this text/send this message NOW) behaviour affects not just them, but the people around them.

Picture this: a texting pedestrian doesn't see the stop signal and walks straight into traffic - and is hit by a car. I don't feel bad for the pedestrian, but my heart breaks for the poor soul who was driving that car. That accident was caused 100% by the idiot who didn't pay attention to the road and has quite likely not only changed the pedestrian's life forever (if the pedestrian wasn't killed), but the life of the driver will never be the same.

If you're texting and you fall down the stairs, break several bones or get a concussion - you're not the only one affected. The people who have to help you are. Your family and friends are. Your coworkers are. What could possibly be so important that you can't wait until you're at your destination or, at least, you stop (over to the side!) to do what you have to do. Yes folks, "step aside." I've had people stop in their tracks, right in front me, as they stop to read something on their phone or to dial a number. As I smash into them, they look at *me* as if I did something wrong. Excuse me? We're walking along the sidewalk at a quick clip, you stop in your tracks because you want to look at your phone and it's my fault I couldn't read your mind and make a split second decision to move around you?

Lest you think I'm just on a rant, I will tell you about a study that was just published on this issue:

Distracted walking: injuries soar for pedestrians on phones. Here are just two examples: "One 14-year-old boy walking down a road while talking on a cell phone fell 6 to 8 feet off a bridge into a rock-strewn ditch, suffering chest and shoulder injuries. A 23-year-old man was struck by a car while walking on the middle line of a road and talking on a cell phone, injuring his hip."

And don't get me started on the number of parents with young children I see pushing strollers or holding their children's hands while the parents are deep in conversation (voice or text), ignoring their children the whole time. I've seen young mothers on the phone, push their stroller right into traffic because they aren't paying attention. I'm afraid to say, it's almost always a mom I see doing it.

Nothing is that important that you can't step aside or wait a few minutes to deal with it.

Rant over. I think.

1 comment:

RolePlayWriter said...

Love it! Though I feel a bit guilty as well, since I have been known to stop, repeatedly, and sometimes walk as well (usually with a dog in full sniff mode) while texting. I go hands free for phone calls. Thanks for linking to the study, great resource!