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Texting while walking may be accident recipe

 

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Texting or internet browsing while walking is associated with higher rates of near misses. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Texting or internet browsing while walking is associated with higher rates of near misses. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

PA

Texting or internet browsing while walking is associated with higher rates of near misses. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Pedestrians who attempt to cross roads with their eyes glued to smartphones are more likely to be involved in accidents or near misses, a study suggests.

Texting or internet browsing while walking is associated with higher rates of near misses and failure to look left and right before crossing a road, Canadian researchers say.

Safety was compromised more when pedestrians were texting, as opposed to listening to music or talking on the phone, their meta-analysis found.

The authors wrote: "Given the ubiquity of smartphones, social media, apps, digital video and streaming music, which has infiltrated most aspects of daily life, distracted walking and street cross will be a road safety issue for the foreseeable future."

The researchers, from the University of Calgary, pooled data from 14 experimental studies on the potential road safety impact of hand-held and hands-free smartphone activities, and reviewed a further eight.

They looked at how long it took 808 children and adults to start walking, begin and complete crossing a road, whether they looked left or right and collisions and close calls with other pedestrians and vehicles.

The studies typically involved a simulation with a kerb-like platform and graphics computer with a projection system.

Texting was found to be the potentially most harmful behaviour, with significantly lower rates of looking left and right before or while crossing.

Irish Independent