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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs