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Preventing injuries related to 'distracted walking'

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Many states have laws about texting while driving in hopes for reducing texting-related accidents. But, people can also get injured texting while walking, as Dr. Kevin Campbell discusses Wednesday on WNCN Today.

This week, a study was published that examined injuries related to walking and texting.  In the August issue of the Journal of Accident Prevention and Analysis, an article states that cell phone-related injuries for pedestrians paralleled with driver injuries.

In fact, more than 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries for cell phone related injuries while walking. Injuries from so called "distracted walking" have more than doubled since 2005. In 2005, there were 256 such injuries, but that number skyrocketed to 1,500 in just five years.

The overall number of pedestrians having injuries that required an ER visit has dropped. In 2004 there were 97,000 pedestrians who went to the ER compared to just 41,000 in 2010.

According to the Journal of Accident Prevention and Analysis, cell phone-related injuries were higher in male pedestrians than female pedestrians.  Young people are the most likely to experience a "distracted walking" injury. People ages 21-25 had the most injuries with 1,003 during a seven study. That compares to just 985 injuries in people ages 16 to 20.

The types of injuries reported from "distracted walking" vary. One teen fell off a bridge while talking on his cell phone. Other people have been hit by cars. 

Experts say the best way to reduce these types of injuries is to start changing norms for cell phone use in our society. They suggest people put away their phones while crossing the street.

 

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