Distracted Walking Injuries on the Rise

Maureen Robb's picture
By Maureen Robb on May 2, 2016

How often do you see someone walking down the street, head down and eyes glued to their phone?

Right. Every day.

The more important question is: How many of these folks end up hurting themselves or others because they don’t watch where they’re going?

"Today, more and more people are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains and fractures," said Alan Hilibrand, M.D, chair of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Communications Cabinet.

"In fact, the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking," said Dr. Hilibrand.

The AAOS commissioned a study on distracted walking last year involving 2,500 people and found that 26 percent had been involved in an incident. The study also found that of those hurt, women 55 and up were most likely to be seriously injured.

The New York Times, reporting on the distracted walking trend, said a 2013 study also found that emergency room visits more than doubled for pedestrians distracted by their cell phones between 2004 and 2010. The Times article and the AAOS website have many other fascinating—and discouraging—facts about the trend.

Sadly, we’ve become a nation of distracted drivers and distracted walkers. When will the craziness end?