opinion

COLUMN: People who text and walk are dangerous



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Any time spent on campus will result with running into more than a few pedestrians with their faces in their phones. I've seen them frequently walk into others on the sidewalk, and even step in front of moving cars.

Yes they’re a nuisance, but are they really a hazard? They absolutely are. Texting and walking can be dangerous and cause injury. Pedestrians, especially in congested areas like IU’s campus, should start putting their phones away. 

USA Today reported that 1,500 people were admitted to the emergency room for cell phone-related pedestrian injuries. This was a stark contrast to the 559 in 2004. 

The recorded injuries resulted from anything from falling off walkways to walking into traffic. 

So why do so many of us text while we walk? Evolving technology has allowed us to do more and more at once, and many people believe they have mastered multitasking.

Still, even the most skilled multitaskers should put the phone down. In fact, multitasking is something nobody is truly skilled in. 

MIT researchers say the human brain just cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. What we do instead is switch our focus from one task to another very quickly. 

While you’re focused on your phone, you could find yourself misstepping or walking into the path of a moving vehicle. 

As a student who is constantly receiving texts and emails, I understand the temptation to check your phone. We’ve become accustomed to receiving and processing information as soon as it is available. When the phone vibrates in your pocket, you’re immediately anxious to check it. 

But please realize that no notification is important enough to put yourself or others in danger. 

Wait until you get to your destination to check your phone. Step off to the side of the sidewalk and come to a stop to check things that may not be able to wait.

It may seem a little silly, but distracted walking is becoming more and more common, and it puts people at risk.

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