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Are You a Distracted Walker?


One of the downsides in the growing importance of technology in our daily lives is the distraction factor. Many of us are “connected” most, if not all of the time, and we tend to let that distract us from everyday activities. Perhaps the most discussed point on this topic (and probably most dangerous) is distracted driving, which is to blame in many automobile accidents these days. Our eyes are off the road where they should be and focused on a mobile device.

The distracted phenomenon is making an impact outside of driving though. Apparently, it now includes walking. The popular technology website TechCrunch recently highlighted this growing trend.

In fact, distracted walking can be dangerous too. According to a recent Associated Press report, accidents from distracted walking have quadrupled, with serious injuries occurring. People are unknowingly walking into oncoming traffic, into ditches, and into other obstructions like walls and telephone poles. Some people are even falling into fountains.

TechCrunch reports (by way of the Consumer Product Safety Commission) that distracted walking sent an estimated 1,152 people to the emergency room last year.

This issue apparently is so bad in Salt Lake City that its transit authority tried to get a law passed that would institute a $50 fine for distracted walking. They were unsuccessful.

I have been known to be distracted while walking as I check my email or trying to dial a number on my cell phone. After reading this report, I think I’m going to start paying more attention. I don’t know what would be worse – having to spend a day in the emergency room because of distracted walking, or telling my wife why I spent the day in the emergency room.


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