One in Three People Are Distracted While Crossing the Street

There’s nothing quite so dangerous on the 21st century street as a person walking and texting (obligatory video of a jerk doing so here). A new study from the University of Washington monitored a thousand people at “20 high risk intersections” and recorded what they observed.

29.8% of all pedestrians performed a “dangerous activity” while crossing the street. Said activities included talking on the phone (6.2 per cent of people observed), listening to music (11.2 per cent), and texting (7.3 per cent). Granted, the last two categories seem to involve some conjecture, since the people observed could easily have been listening to audiobooks or using a navigation app, but still, that’s a lot of distracted pedestrians.

Interestingly, people texting also took longer to cross the street, to the surprise of precisely no one.

The study’s authors conclude, “Our findings suggest the need for intervention studies to reduce risk of pedestrian injury.” Either that, or judges need to start taking away smartphones when accidents occur. Seriously, can there be a more effective punishment?

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