Drivers are not the only ones commonly distracted by their phones, new research from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests.
A 2013 study found emergency room visits involving pedestrians distracted by their phones doubled between 2004 and 2010. Yet most pedestrians report distraction among other pedestrians is the real problem. Few admit to their own distraction.
Pedestrians in Denial About Distracted Walking
The online survey polled 2,008 American adults about the extent of their distraction in everyday life. Almost all (93%) said they were “very good” or “pretty good” at multitasking—contrary to research suggesting multitasking is difficult or impossible.
Additionally, 78% reported distracted walking as a serious issue, but just 29% said they were often distracted. Twenty-six percent said they had been involved in a distracted walking incident. These incidents range from minor incidents, such as running into things, to more serious ones, such as breaking bones.
Though respondents were unwilling to acknowledge their own distraction and often believed they could do two things at once, they were quick to criticize the distraction of other pedestrians. Eighty-five percent said other pedestrians were distracted by their smartphones.
The Dangers of Distracted Walking
Another study found cell phone-related pedestrian injuries were most common among people ages 16-25.
- Distracted walking study: Topline summary findings [PDF]. (2015). Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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