Pres Rx: Texting and Walking

Is your smartphone making you dumb? A new study shows the number of pedestrian ER visits for injuries related to cell phone use tripled between 2004 and 2010. This week, Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell talks about the dangers of texting and walking.

It used to be enough to teach your children to look both ways before crossing the street. But nowadays, smartphones are causing pedestrians of all ages to forget simple, common sense rules when walking in public places, resulting in serious consequences.

Recent studies from the University of Buffalo and Ohio State University show that while injuries from texting and driving are usually more serious, injuries from texting while walking occur more often.

In fact, more than 6,000 people — most of them between the ages of 16 and 25 — visited the hospital last year because they were injured while walking and texting, tweeting or emailing.

Researchers say texting or reading on your mobile phone affects your ability to walk and balance. Distracted walkers are likely to bump into walls and other people, walk into cars, fall over things in the street – even fall into holes or down stairs.

Walking while texting isn't against the law, but it could end up costing you plenty in emergency room bills. Set a good example for your children and stay off your phone while driving or walking, and teach them to do the same.

If you can't put your phone down long enough to reach your destination, at least use a voice-to-text app so you can keep your eyes on the road. For maintaining good health, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell.