Texting while walking injuring 'clueless' pedestrians

Mar 3, 2014

It's not just texting and driving that can be hazardous to your health. Emergency room physicians are seeing a growing number of people injured from distracted walking.

University at Buffalo Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Dietrich Jehle says texting and other phone use while walking is much more dangerous.

Signs like this are beginning to go up in cities across the country.
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"If you just look at a busy intersection and you watch people going across, the person who's on their cell phone isn't looking both ways and is clueless to some of the risks that are in front of them," Jehle says.

In 2010, Jehle says the number of pedestrians hit by vehicles while using a cell phone surpassed the number of injuries from distracted driving.

Jehle, who is also a practicing physician at ECMC's Trauma Center, says as many as 10 percent of emergency room visits result from accidents involving cell phones. He says people can suffer severe injuries falling down stairs, walking into objects and getting hit by vehicles.

"The injuries that are sustained during a very short period of time can be life-threatening or impair your health for years to come. So just to put it down for a second and pay attention," he advises.