Warning: Waking and talking or texting on a smartphone can be hazardous to your health.
That’s the key finding of a new nationwide study showing more than 1,500 pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries related to using a mobile phone while walking, according to a new nationwide study.
What’s more, the number of such injuries has more than doubled since 2005, even though the overall number of pedestrian injuries dropped during that time, according to Ohio State University researchers who conducted the study.
"If current trends continue, I wouldn't be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cellphones doubles again between 2010 and 2015," said Jack Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning who helped lead the study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
"The role of cell phones in distracted driving injuries and deaths gets a lot of attention and rightly so, but we need to also consider the danger cell phone use poses to pedestrians."
The study found young people, aged 16 to 25, were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting.
The findings are based on an analysis of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission that samples injury reports from 100 hospitals around the country.
The reports, from 2004 to 2010, indicate the number pedestrians who were treated in emergency rooms for injuries received while using a cellphone has risen every year since 2005, even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped from 97,000 in 2004 to 41,000 in 2010.
Nasar said he believes the number of injuries tied to pedestrian smartphone use is actually much higher than the statistics suggest.
"I think it is safe to say that the numbers we have are much lower than what is really happening," he said, adding: "As more people get cell phones and spend more time using them, the number of injuries is likely to increase as well. Now people are playing games and using social media on their phones too."
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