Apparently Texting While Walking Is a Real Concern

A survey shows most pedestrians admit to stepping into traffic while sending messages, even though they know it's dangerous.


As most people put a focus on distracted driving, trying to keep motorists from texting while behind the wheel, there is a group of people out there putting their lives at risk simply by walking across the street while on the phone.

Boston-based Liberty Mutual released findings this week that showed a majority of pedestrians think it’s more important to send a text when they are strolling through the city streets than it is protecting themselves from getting hit by a vehicle.

According to the survey, which gauged 1,000 peoples’ opinions about their texting and walking habits, 55-percent of those who answered the questionnaire said they consider the action dangerous, but three out of five of them engage in some sort of smartphone activity anyways, “[prioritizing] smartphones over safety,” the report said. “So much attention has been paid, and rightly so, to distracted driving that we have ignored the fact that distracted walking and crossing can be just as risky,” said David Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. “The fact that drivers and pedestrians continue to engage in dangerous habits, despite claiming to recognize the risk, suggests that the majority of Americans are taking a cavalier, ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude.'”

The survey showed that 60 percent of pedestrians walk while texting, emailing, talking on the phone, or listening to music, which could have contributed to the 4,280 pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes in 2010, nationwide, a 4-percent increase from the previous year, as reported in by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Representatives from Liberty Mutual claim the concerns about walking while staring down at a phone sending messages are valid—and not just because of the reported fatalities that may be linked to the behavior. In a press release, the company said a 2011 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 1,152 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms throughout the country after being injured while walking and using a cell phone or some other electronic device.

Above is a graph, put together by Liberty Mutual of Boston, based on their survey, that shows peoples’ texting while walking habits. Based on the findings, most pedestrians don’t mind taking a risk when traveling across the street.