Distracted driving can cause crashes, injuries, and even death; it’s a prevalent public issue that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to champion. But what about distracted walking? What are the consequences of pedestrians talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, or engaging deeply in conversation with the person next to them?
“Today, more and more people are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains, and fractures,” said Alan Hilibrand, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. “In fact, the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.”
Recently, AAOS expanded its injury-prevention efforts to include distracted walking. The “Digital Deadwalkers” radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) distributed in 2015 and 2016 humorously, but effectively, highlight what can happen when pedestrians focus on anything or anyone other than the task of safely getting where they need to go.
First, while 78% of U.S. adults believe that distracted walking is a “serious” issue; three-quarters of Americans say it’s “other people” who walk distracted. Only 29% of respondents admit that they, personally, have an issue. And the sense of “it’s not me, it’s you” cuts across a range of distracted walking behaviors:
- Ninety percent say they see walkers talking on the phone (and 37% admit doing so themselves)
- Eighty-eight percent engaging in conversation (vs. 75% themselves)
- Eighty-eight percent listening to music (vs. 34% themselves)
- Eighty-five percent using a smartphone (vs. 28% themselves)
- Sixty-four percent generally “zoning out” (vs. 38% themselves)
Despite the obvious risks associated with distracted walking, as many respondents believe it is “embarrassing (in a silly way)” as feel it is “dangerous” (46%). Furthermore, 31% say distracted walking is “something I’m likely to do” and 22% think distracted walking is “funny,” according to the study.
And distracted walking is resulting in injuries. Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans say they have personally witnessed a distracted walking incident, and just over a quarter (26%) say they have been in an incident themselves.
Information contained here is reprinted from AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).
To read the rest of the story go to: http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00748 or if you’ve injured yourself in a “distracted” incident, go to our web site to learn more about Sarasota Orthopedic Associates and how we can help you.