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Distracted Walking, Do We Need a Law?

Distracted walking.  We have all done it.  Reading texts while walking, talking on the phone while trying to cross the street.  Hey, we are not driving a car, so it can’t be dangerous! Right?

Lately, there are stories all over the news about people getting hurt while simply taking a walk while talking on the phone.  A man in Washington recently tripped and fell onto train tracks hitting his head while talking on his cell phone and not paying attention to what he was doing.  Luckily he wasn’t killed, but it took him a few minutes to get up.  This morning, a biker almost rode right into my wife’s car because he was looking at his cell phone and not looking where he was going.

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over 1,200 injuries were reported in Emergency Rooms nation-wide last year due to distracted walking.  They believe that may be an underestimated number, as people don’t want to admit they were using their cell phone.  Some examples they site: A woman walked into a telephone pole while texting, a man fell in a ditch while talking on his cell phone and a 12 year old boy playing a video game on his phone was clipped by a truck as he tried to cross the road.

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This situation brings me back to a bit from Ellen DeGeneres’ stand up where she says, Now we have hands-free phones, so you can focus on the thing you’re really supposed to be doing … chances are, if you need both of your hands to do something, your brain should be in on it too”.  Although funny, I have to agree with her.

So, this leads me to ask, should we lobby for laws to ban distracted walking? Will it even work?  Heck, I still see people talking on their cell and texting while driving.  Or do we just have to realize this is the world we live in and accept that now we have to not only watch the road for distracted drivers, now we have to add looking out for distracted walkers to our “to-do” list while driving!

What do you think?  Share your distracted walker story with us!

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