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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid