Home > Uncategorized > TWW: Texting While Walking

TWW: Texting While Walking

Oh Hai!

It seems there is a new menace out there on our streets and sidewalks causing accidents and injuries to both victim and perpetrator alike.  I am talking about texting while walking.  I am not an aficionado of texting, but I can see how it would be dangerous to attempt to type a coherent message on the tiny keyboard of a cell phone while making your way down a sidewalk filled with perils.  Can anyone really pay attention to both things at the same time?  Isn’t it just an accident waiting to happen?

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To answer my own question, yes, yes it is.  Case in point.  Just last week, a 15 year old Long Island girl fell into an unattended open manhole while she was trying to send a text message.  She suffered deep cuts and bruises from her unwelcome fall into the stinky sewer.  Of course her parents are thinking of suing.  But who is really at fault here?  Certainly the manhole should have been covered or guarded, but the young lady also had a duty to pay attention to where she was going.  Until we can wrap the entire world in bubble wrap everyone must take some responsibility for their health and well being.  One way to do that is to pay attention to where you are walking.  Cracks, holes, cars, other people, lampposts, mailboxes, all of those things can pose a threat when you are not looking where you are walking.

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The young lady was very lucky to have suffered only minor injuries.  In 2008, a 14 year old Florida boy was struck by a car and killed when he stepped in front of a car while texting.  His friends saw the car, but he was so engrossed in his message that he did not.  “Almost every emergency room physician in an urban area or busy community hospitals have seen somebody who was walking, riding, skateboarding or trying to drive, and has been distracted by texting,” said Dr. Mark Melrose, director of emergency medicine at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J (ABC News).

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Many states are going as far as to consider laws to restrict or outright ban texting while driving, crossing the street, and in many other situations.  Perhaps the U.S. government should take its cue from a publicity stunt perpetrated by a British directory assistance company.  The company decided to wrap the lampposts on a busy East London street in soft white rugby goal post cushions.  Thus, texting pedestrians would softly bounce off the lampposts instead of being injured.  Talk about wrapping the world in bubble wrap.  The cushions were removed after a day or two.  The question is, did the texters get the message?  Who knows.  It was a brilliant public relations move, however.  It got people talking.  Talking about actually extending the plan to more British streets.  Apparently about 1 in 10 people in Britain have been injured in TWW accidents (Time Magazine).  So much for personal responsibility.

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Seriously people, what is so important that it can’t wait until you are safely seated or standing still?  Try not being in contact with everyone in the world at every moment.  It is rather liberating.  I bet whatever that 13 year old boy was texting about was not at all worth his life.  Enough of my preaching.

Thank You For Your Consideration,

The Graham Ten

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  1. May 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

    hi, great article and this is something we on the London 2012 Olympics have been discussing recently. we plan to discuss more and maybe lauch an initiative to raise awareness and reduce the risk of an accident happening.

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