Researchers watched hundreds of pedestrians in Seattle and came up with some hard numbers on the dangers of texting and walking.
According to the newly published University of Washington study, nearly 30 percent of pedestrians are involved in some sort of "distracting activity" (like listening to music, talking on the phone, or texting) while crossing the street.
Texting pedestrians were slower to cross the street, taking an extra 1.87 seconds cross intersections than undistracted pedestrians. Texting pedestrians were 3.9 times more likely than undistracted people to engage in some sort of unsafe crossing behavior like jaywalking or failing to look both ways.
On the flip side, pedestrians listening to music walked half a second faster across the average intersection than undistracted pedestrians. Speed demons!
Of course, the big issue isn't texting walkers, but texting drivers. "Distracted driving" led to a jaw-dropping number of deaths on American roads last year: 3,331. And then there's people who die just because drivers weren't paying enough attention, like Portland's 27-year-old Mara Rosanne Forsythe-Crane, who was struck and killed by a truck this week on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. There is a vigil tonight to remember her death and support safety improvements on the road.
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