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.