New Study Reveals Risk of Texting While Walking

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

December 13, 2012

According to a new study done by the journal Injury Prevention, texting while walking may be just as risky as texting while driving. Whether it's a tweet, an email, facebook or a text, these things are distracting people as they're walking day to day.

"I think if we asked a lot of people we know, they'd say they definitely do it," said second-year UVa student, Christian Selassie.

"Oh yeah, I definitely do it. Obviously you have to be careful where you're walking, that's the important part," said second-year UVa student Gordon Hamilton-Farley.

And while pedestrians do have the right of way, the study says one in three people observed crossing busy intersections weren't aware of traffic and were distracted by their phone.

"When I'm walking and not crossing a street I definitely walk with my head down, looking at my phone for sure. But I try to pay attention when I'm walking across the street. I mean, it's kind of a rule that students can walk across the street and cars will just stop," said second-year UVa student David Sacco.

But Virginia state code says pedestrians actually have the obligation to look both ways before crossing the street. Which means, eyes need be looking up and not at the phone.

"I feel like texting while walking is the same thing as texting while driving, just because you're a pedestrian doesn't mean you're not a part of traffic. And if the driver isn't paying attention and you're not paying attention, that's just kind of bad for everybody," said Hadeel Alwani, a third-year student at UVa.

Charlottesville police say it's important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. It could prevent a crime or a serious injury while crossing the street.

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