News / Science & Technology

Cell Phone Use Increasing Pedestrian Danger

Cell Phones Increasing Distracted Walkingi
X
February 27, 2013 6:45 PM
Research shows distracted walking has become a global problem due to increasing cell phone use, especially in cities. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.

Cell Phones Increasing Distracted Walking

Faiza Elmasry
Teenagers are often warned against texting on their cell phones while they are behind the wheel of a car, since distracted driving can lead to serious automobile accidents.

Many teens, however, are not aware that distracted walking can be just as dangerous. Safe Kids Worldwide encourages teens to watch where they walk.

Tessa Youngner, 16, sees walking to school as a chance to do what she likes best: listen to music.

“There is a lot of work to be done, especially in high school," she says. "When you take harder classes, there is not always a lot of time to listen to music or watch TV or be with friends.”

Andrew Summers, 15, is also used to multi-tasking on the go. “I usually text or go on the Internet while I’m walking, doing stuff like that, but I don’t have music in.”

High school senior Nailah Philips admits she’s never totally focused on the road while walking. “My phone can do everything, and it’s just how it’s like for teenagers. I will listen to music, like if my Mom texts or calls, I’m talking to her.”

But that behavior might be changing, after these Virginia students attended a workshop about the risks of distracted walking organized by Safe Kids Worldwide.

The group’s injury prevention coordinator, Linda Watkins, understands why teens don’t see a problem with walking while texting or listening to music.

“Kids these days think they can really multi-task," Watkins says. "So they think, 'I can listen to my music. I can watch for the traffic, and then I can cross the street all at the same time.'”

But often, they don’t realize how dangerous crossing the street has become.

“There is the problem with the distracted drivers, too," Watkins says. "So you’re a distracted driver, you’re a distracted pedestrian, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. So the pedestrian has to accept some responsibility also when it comes to being safe.”

A workshop Safe Kids offers makes students part of the solution, soliciting their suggestions for how to make more teenagers aware of the danger.

“They said they need PSAs [public service announcements], they need posters, maybe banners on their cellphones or things like that that’s going to remind them,” Watkins says. 

Safe Kids Worldwide's director of research, Angela Mickalide, says putting facts in front of teenagers raises their awareness of the problem.

“Today in the United States, 61 children will be hit while crossing the street," she says. "This year, 500 children 19 and under will be killed in a pedestrian incident.”

The nonprofit is fighting distracted walking with a comprehensive approach.

“We’re trying to educate kids and drivers and families that they need to put away their distracting technologies when they cross the street," Mickalide says. "We’re also working very hard to create better infrastructure. We’re building roads, putting in signage, putting in crossroads all around the country and in nine other countries throughout the world. And finally, we’re conducting research on this important issue.”

That research shows distracted walking has become a global problem due to increasing cell phone use, especially in cities.

“For example, in South Africa in the last 10 years alone the percentage of the population who owns cell phones has grown from 17 percent to 76 percent," Mickalide says. "In fact, South Africans have greater access to cell phones than they do clean running water.”

Urbanization is another reason.

“We’re building highways without having the proper education for people in learning how to cross the street," she says. "This is a particular problem in India. And in China we have many people moving from rural to more urban areas, while at the same time we’re not providing them with the necessary education.”

That’s where awareness campaigns come in. Watkins doesn’t ask teens to stop using their hand-held devices or listening to music all the time while walking, just some of the time.

“The 20 to 25 seconds that you are crossing the street is more important than the call or the text [message],” she says.

She says the golden rule of safety remains the same; look both ways once, and then again, before crossing the street.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid