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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs