In the old days, it was people reading a book while they walked. But these days, one of the most perilous activities to your health may be: texting on foot. Police are even enforcing 60 year old jaywalking laws in order to get people to watch where they’re going.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1,152 people wound up in hospital emergency rooms in the last year for injuries caused when walking and using a cell phone or electronic device. Injuries to distracted walkers have quadrupled in the past seven years, according to emergency room numbers, and that’s probably a low estimate because either patients don’t admit a cell phone was involved or doctors don’t include that sort of detail on hospital reports.
No one is impervious. According to a recent Newsweek article, “texting has become like blinking: the average person, regardless of age, sends or receives 400 texts a month, four times the 2007 number.” Teens are particularly vulnerable. That same Newsweek article clocked the average teen processing 3,700 texts a month, double their 2007 numbers. Another report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project looked at the behavior of nearly 800 teens ages 12 to 17 during a three-part survey between April and July 2011 and a series of focus groups involving 57 people ages 12 to 19. Teens on average were shown to be sending and receiving 60 texts each day, up from 50 in 2009. The increase is being led by older teens ages 14-17 who went from a median of 60 texts a day to 100 two years later (that’s 6 texts an hour assuming you sleep for 8 hours). Girls are still the most active texters, sending and receiving a median of 100 texts a day compared to boys sending 50. However, boys are texting more than they were just two years ago — in 2009, they sent about 30 each day. Worldwide, the highest average is in the Philippines, with an average of 27 texts sent per day by subscribers.