Have phone, will travel

The journal Accident Analysis & Prevention published a study called “Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places” in the August edition, and the national media didn’t overlook it. The New York Times highlighted the dramatic increase–approaching threefold–in injuries during the 2004 – 2010 study period. The Atlantic pointed out that talking was associated with more injuries than texting, and that in raw numbers, distracted walking injuries appear to outnumber distracted driving injuries in the U.S. And no source I saw missed the fact that younger pedestrians are disproportionately represented in the injury statistics.

I’m reminded of the 2008 death of SOU student Gladys Jimenez, who was struck while crossing Siskiyou Boulevard. Jimenez was reportedly talking on her phone while crossing the road. I would hasten to add that talking while walking does automatically not make Jimenez–or any pedestrian–at fault in a collision. Furthermore, the driver who struck Jimenez was cited by Ashland Police for failure to stop and careless driving. However, I would find it very difficult to argue that mobile phone use is not a substantial risk factor for injury while walking.

It’s a great season for walking in our fine valley. Heads up out there.