WALKING into a lamp-post while texting might raise a laugh, but exposes a serious and growing public hazard, it was claimed yesterday.
Accidents of this sort are happening every day with hospital casualty staff reporting increasing numbers of mishaps, said technology expert Dr Joanna Lumsden.
Anecdotal evidence suggested as many as one in 10 people in Britain had suffered injuries as a result of tripping, falling, colliding with a solid object, or being involved in a road accident while using a mobile phone.
In London, two teenage pedestrians were killed every day as a result of being distracted and not noticing traffic, said Dr Lumsden.
Many of these victims were likely to be mobile phone casualties.
“Accident and emergency departments have seen more and more admissions as a result of texting accidents,” said Dr Lumsden, from Aston University in Birmingham.
Speaking at the British Science Festival, taking place at the university this week, she said laboratory experiments had shown the brain cannot handle navigating on foot while texting.
“What you see is that people will slow down and grind to a halt,” she said. “That’s because they cannot cope with the cognitive load of walking and texting at the same time. The short answer is don’t walk and text.”
She said it would be wrong to label people who came to grief while texting from their mobile phone “stupid”.
“A lot of people living busy lives are expected to carry a mobile phone or Blackberry everywhere and are required to remain in contact 24-7,” she said.
“They are under pressure to answer their phone.”
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