Distracted walking injuries involving cellphones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011, making it a significant safety threat, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Sixty-eight per cent of those injured are women, and 54 per cent are people ages 40 or younger, according to a recent study.
The NSC says this trend is so alarming that it was included for the first time in the council's annual statistical report, Injury Facts, which tracks data around the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths.
Unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the primary focus of National Safety Month, observed each June.
“Whether we are in the car or on foot, it is important to be aware of our surroundings, even if they are familiar,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC, based in Itasca, Ill. “No call, text or update is worth an injury.”
While cellphone distracted walking injuries were most common among women and those ages 40 and younger, the study found the issue is impacting all age groups. Twenty-one per cent of those injured were 71 and older. Talking on the phone accounted for 62 per cent of injuries, the most common of which were dislocation or fracture, sprains or strains and concussions. Nearly 80 per cent of the injuries were due to a fall.
The rise in cellphone distracted walking injuries parallels the eight-fold increase in cellphone use in the last 15 years. It is just as important to walk cell-free as it is to drive cell-free, says the NSC. Pedestrians and drivers using cellphones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. For pedestrians, this distraction can cause them to trip, cross roads unsafely or walk into motionless objects such as street signs, doors or walls.
Photo: Aleutie (Shutterstock)
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