As increasingly advanced as our smartphones have become, they've also come with one unfortunate side effect. According to the Associated Press, the number of people walking into each other, manholes, on-coming cars and other objects has quadrupled over the past few years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an estimated 1,152 people were sent to the emergency room last year due to "distracted walking".
Some examples of the reported incidents include:
- A 24-year-old woman who walked into a telephone pole while texting;
- A 28-year-old man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cellphone
- A 12-year-old boy who was looking at a video game when he was clipped by a pickup truck as he crossed the street
- A 53-year-old woman who fell off a curb while texting and lacerated her face.
Over the years, officials have tried to reduce the number of incidents with PSA billboards and legislation, but it seems like people just can't get their heads out of their... phones. As hilarious as some of these incidents may be, distracted walking could actually become a serious problem as indicated by a 4.2 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2010.
Unfortunately, most attempts at criminalizing things like texting while walking has been met with universal opposition and has left lawmakers reluctant to impose fines. Until people get better at multitasking or legislation pushes through, we may end up seeing more people walking into manholes or fountains in the near future.