Texting And Walking Injuries On The Rise

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Texting has become such a habit for many of us that you might not even think twice about texting while walking down a crowded street. But texting on-the-go could mean trouble. On the Boston University campus it was easy to spot college students with their heads buried in their keyboards while walking between classes. And many of them admit they are so distracted they bump into people or posts a few times a week.

It happens because the two tasks, walking and texting, are competing for our brain’s attention. Researchers at New York’s Stony Brook University found that even the most adept texters were not aware of where they were walking. “When they were walking and texting deviation was 60% away from the straight line. That’s a huge amount to be off course,” says Lisa Muratori a researcher at Stony Brook University.

Veering off course, even slightly, may not seem like a big deal, but hospitals report a growing number of injuries from texting and walking from chin scrapes to broken bones.

In Michigan, Shawn Spencer landed in the hospital after walking right into traffic while texting. At a train station in Australia, a distracted texter didn’t see a baby rolling right on to the train tracks. There is a law in one Idaho town banning texting in the street. In London, they tried padding lamp posts.

And if all else fails, there is a texting app that shows the ground below while you’re sending out that message.

Texting Apps: iTunes | Android Marketplace

More from Kate Merrill
  • gramps

    Tuition @ BU is 39,000 per year, & they can’t even ‘walk & talk’?


  • F

    Super, wonder when the state house propose legislation that makes texting while walking a crime punishable by fine and a surcharge on your insurance

    Sad part, no one would be surprised if it happened

    • billbranch

      What’s so sad about it? If someone is walking and texting, he should instantly lose his right of way as a pedestrian. Ten years ago we had the invasion of the bicylists who lent new magnitude to the term “boorish” and who now think they have right of way over cars and pedestrians.
      Today we have the self-absorbed texters, who think not only that the world revolves around them but that everyone is waiting with bated breath for their next pronouncement. They are causing accidents and road rage on the highways and their superficiality tells us older workers to keep our jobs, that the younger generation certainly has little going on between the ears.
      There are many issues more important than whether you started your period, whether that handsome guy in Poli Sci asked you out, whether you look better in navy or royal. No one cares! Well, maybe your parents if you walk in front of a car and get killed, but I’d be more upset about the blood on my paint than about the loss of your life, because you don’t care about your safety, why should I?

  • emom

    Oh now they take notice of the fools walking with their heads hanging and looking down,,,, But wait they are not looking at the ground,, but texting or looking on line with their cells, Gee just watch the fools walking on the sidewalk its comical, that is until they walk off the sidewalk and straight into traffic, Then you wonder why there is so many accidents with pedestrians and cars,,,, because many just do not pay attention…They are walking in a text world,, clouded by …. R U 4 GOING 2 BB’S 4 A WHL… Really if they spent more time learning to walk and seeing where they were going instead of being in into their text cloud and falling into things then maybe they would not get hurt,,,, MAYBE ,

    • bosmonkey

      Agreed. they look like idiots. Ahh…today’s youth.

      I’m a tall, big guy and I don’t move out of the way for people not paying attention. I’m a nice person, hold doors, etc… I used to move out of people’s way, but I stopped a few years ago. Why should you move out of someone’s way who walks into your path because they are oblivious or self-entitled? Sometimes I say, ‘watch it’ but some times they slam right into me. Doesn’t bother me at all, but I think it wakes them up – for a short time anyway. Comical.

      • hobbes

        I am five feet tall and disabled. Not only am I not spry enough to jump out of a texters way, I am likely to be knocked down/injured when they do colide with me. Someone please stop these self-absorbed people!

  • Rob Cleary

    You can’t fix stupid

  • web

    This is one of those instances where I’m actually glad they get hurt…serves them right. Pay attention!

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