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Are You a Distracted Pedestrian?

Do you walk and talk on your cell phone? How about walk and text message? If so, you are not alone. Distracted walking is a growing problem putting many at increased risk of being hit by a car or even becoming the victim of a trip and fall.

You may have seen the well-publicized YouTube videos or security camera footage of people falling into water fountains at shopping malls, people walking into intersections with an oncoming car, or people landing head first on train tracks.

Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported, according to a recent USA Today article. In 2012, about 1,152 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. for injuries suffered while walking and using a cellphone or some other electronic device, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A new study has found that people who type or read on their phones while walking are less likely to look at their surroundings, keep their balance or walk in a straight line. This puts pedestrian’s safety at greater risk around road and navigating obstacles like curbs, poles, stop signs, manholes, other people, shrubbery, and more.

Please do not become a Florida hazard by walking distracted. Pay attention to your surrounding and watch where you are going at all times.