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Dangers of Distracted Walking

Dangers of Distracted Walking

It's Not Me…It's You. That’s the title of a George Lopez comedy special on HBO and what lots of folks told researchers who conducted a survey on distracted walking for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). When they asked folks if they listen to music, texted or chatted while walking, the respondents mostly said, “Not me. It’s everyone else!”

Only 4 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed admitted they were usually distracted while walking, but they were sure 28 percent of their fellow pedestrians were always off in Distracto Land.

Distracted walking is very dangerous, even though many millennials told the researchers it was just embarrassing…in a silly way. Emergency room visits related to texting or talking tell a different story: They went up 35 percent from 2010 to 2013 and it’s a pretty good bet that the numbers are still increasing. The injuries include contusions, sprains, fractures and worse from falling down stairs, tripping over curbs, bumping into others, or stepping into traffic.

Why do you do it? Forty-eight percent of what one AAOS representative called “digital deadwalkers” said they just don’t think about it. Twenty eight percent were confident they could walk and do other things, and 22 percent said they want to use their time productively.

Our advice? If you’re walking and need to talk, text or groove to your favorite tunes, step aside. And whenever crossing the street give your surroundings your full attention. You don’t want to become a dead digital walker.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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