February 22, 2012

Texting and Walking

New research shows that this habit might be worse than you think.

Gary: Well, if you are like me, you are probably walking and texting all the time without even thinking about it. Now researchers are saying that is exactly the problem.

“Every time I’m walking to class, in between, it doesn’t matter; I’m texting and walking.”

Gary: And there are those times you might embarrass yourself a little.

“I mean sometimes I bump into things. But it happens.”

Gary: But why does it happen? Well, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York state say the tasks of texting and walking compete for our brain’s attention. During a study, they found even the most expert texters lost track of where they were going.

“When they were walking and texting, deviation was 60% away from the straight line. That’s a huge amount to be off course.”

Gary: So they got a little off course. What is the big deal, right? Well, hospitals report a growing number of injuries from texting and walking — everything from minor chin scrapes all the way to broken bones.

Shawn Spencer in Michigan learned the hard way when he walked right into traffic.

Shawn Spencer: Flying through the air, thinking ‘what the…’ Hit the ground.

Gary: Lawmakers all over are taking notice of the texting while walking mishaps. Rexburg, Idaho has a law banning texting while crossing the street. And in London, they tried padding lampposts just in case you have one of those veer-off-course moments. There is even a new texting app that actually shows the ground below. Researchers say we are figuring it out.

“I sense other people.”

Gary: But until then, we should take it one step — and text — at a time.

Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.


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