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If distracted walking is a risk, distracted driving is too

Most people have heard of distracted driving. States have their own distracted driving laws. Pennsylvania, for example, bans texting and driving for all drivers. It is a primary offense that can get someone a ticket, but most importantly, can get someone injured or even killed.

If there were ever any doubt whether texting or talking on a cellphone while driving were dangerous habits, a recent report regarding another distracted behavior proves the risk. What is more complicated, walking or driving? Then, if walking and talking on the phone proves to cause injury, imagine what could happen if everyone drove and used their cellphones.

Researchers looked at rates of injuries related to so-called "distracted walking" and came up with a startling finding: more injuries related to cellphones and walking have been sustained than distracted driving injuries. Does this mean that walking while on the phone is more dangerous than texting and driving? Not necessarily. Perhaps the higher rate of injuries is due to the likelihood that more people feel safe to talk or text while walking than they do to use their phones while driving.

That feeling of safety, however, is misguided. The thousands of injuries related to distracted walking prove that. Multi-tasking tends to be more difficult for people to achieve than they think. It gets them into danger, whether they are on foot or on the roads. It can also create danger for unsuspecting victims.

Laws for distracted walking will probably never be put on the books, and this post isn't meant to advocate for such laws. This matter can basically serve as a reminder to people that the focus should always be safety. Clearly, people are habitual users of their cellphones and other technologies. When habit becomes negligence and another party gets hurt, the victim has legal rights to be compensated for his losses.

Source: Live Science, "Cellphone Distractions: Pedestrian Injuries Rise," Jeanna Bryner, June 20, 2013

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