Reporting Vanessa Borge
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — We’ve all heard of distracted driving, but did you know distracted walking can be just as harmful?
The danger is real and growing as more people become attached to their cell phones.
Everywhere you look we’re multitasking; walking, talking and texting or trying to.
A Pennsylvania woman was so busy with her texting, she toppled into a fountain.
“The humiliation. Ask my husband. I cried for days,” she said.
A Canadian reporter’s live shot was upstaged by a texting woman tripping down stairs. In California, a man was so focused on his texting; he came face-to-face with a bear wandering the suburbs.
More disturbing: A distracted man on his cell phone in a Philadelphia train station stumbled and fell onto the tracks. Luckily, no train was coming.
Talking on your cell phone is distracting but texting is much worse. When you’re looking down at your phone your next step may mean trouble.
Rushing to meet her friends to watch a football game, Michelle Lester stumbled right off the edge of the road.
“I lost balance cause my phone was in my face,” Lester said. “You’re not paying attention like you should be.”
More than 1,100 people ended up in the emergency room last year injured while walking and using their cell phone.
“I think the majority of them go unreported,” said Dr. Richard Lichenstein with the Maryland Medical Center. He is researching the growing dangers of distracted walking.
“We have this belief that we can multi-task when really in effect we can’t do it. The scientific term is something called inattentional blindness,” Lichenstein said.
As a nation we sent 12.2 million texts a month back in 2000. Nine years later we were sending 135 billion a month and many of us are doing it on foot.
“I think a good term is pedtextrians. That would be a pedestrian who’s texting at the same time,” Lichenstein said.
“When you’re distracted it certainly could be something as simple as turning your ankle but if a car hits you, the game is over.” Lichenstein said.
Several states have tried to pass distracted walking laws, but so far none has been approved.