‘Distracted Walking’ Could be Biggest Hazard Cell Phones Carry

woman uses a smartphoneThe debate over whether or not the radiation emitted from cellphones is harmful to the human body continues to rage, but one risk factor that can’t be disputed any longer is that of distracted walking. A recent piece from TheStreet.com explores some of the statistics and real-life examples of this seemingly benign phenomenon.

The first example provided is the tragic case of 33-year-old Joshua Burwell. This past Christmas Day, Burwell decided to enjoy the scenery of a cliff-side overlook in San Diego by the Pacific Ocean.

Yet Burwell may have been spending more time enjoying the scenery of his phone. He reportedly walked off the cliff’s edge and fell 40 feet to his death.

While this is certainly an extreme and exceptional example, it does highlight the potential dangers associated with this new age risk. On the other side of the argument, some people say it’s a fact of life that people will get distracted while doing anything, including walking. There may be a new shiny toy that’s getting a significant amount of attention now for it, but since the beginning of time, mankind has found a way to walk right into the teeth of terror while paying attention to something else entirely.

However, the phenomenon is real enough that the National Safety Council added “distracted walking” accidents to their annual Injury Facts survey for the first time in 2015 and had some statistics to prove the inclusion worthy. For starters, distracted walking accounted for over 11,000 injuries between 2000 and 2011 alone.

“While cell phone distracted walking injuries were most common among women and those ages 40 and younger, the study found the issue is impacting all age groups,” the Council said. “21% of those injured were 71 and older. Talking on the phone accounted for 62% of injuries, the most common of which were dislocation or fracture, sprains or strains and concussions. Nearly 80% of the injuries were due to a fall.”

The risks of radiation and electromagnetic frequency are still being debated. Some people even keep the actually device at least an inch away from their face when using them, but many scientists believe this isn’t enough.

The risks of walking while being distracted by your cellphone are pretty concrete, though. Pay attention to your surroundings and get your nose out of your phone. It could end up saving your life.

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