There are a lot of warnings about the dangers of texting while driving, but a recent study shows that texting while walking can be unsafe as well.

Dr. Beth Ebel from the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and other scientists observed more than a thousand randomly selected pedestrians. They found that around 30% of those people were distracted by some sort of electronic device, many of them were texting.

Texters were four times more likely to disobey traffic lights, jaywalk or fail to look both ways before crossing the street. They also took longer to cross the street.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 1,000 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2011 for injuries that happened because they were using a cell phone while walking and not paying attention.  Among the injured were a 24-year-old woman who walked into a phone pole and a 28-year old man who walked right into a ditch. Even more alarming, were reports of kids walking into traffic.

It’s not just phones that cause safety issues. People listening to music and playing video games also pay far less attention to what they are doing. Many cities are now proposing laws against distracted walking.  Whether you’re behind the wheel of a car or hoofing it, it’s always a good idea to look where you are going.

– Cynthia