The Province

Our advice? Don’t be a digital dead walker


It’s Not Me, It’s You. That’s the title of a George Lopez comedy special on HBO and also what lots of folks told researcher­s who conducted a survey on distracted walking for the American Academy of Orthopaedi­c Surgeons.

When they asked folks if they listen to music, text or chat while walking, the respondent­s mostly said, “Not me. It’s everyone else!”

Only four per cent of the 6,000 people surveyed admitted they were usually distracted while walking, but they were sure 28 per cent of their fellow pedestrian­s were always off in Distracto Land.

Distracted walking is very dangerous, even though many millennial­s told the researcher­s it was just embarrassi­ng in a silly way. But emergency room visits related to texting or talking tell a different story: They went up 35 per cent from 2010-13 and it’s a pretty good bet the numbers are increasing.

The injuries include contusions, sprains, fractures and worse from falling down stairs, tripping over curbs, bumping into others or stepping into traffic.

Why do you do it? Forty-eight per cent of what one AAOS representa­tive called “digital deadwalker­s” said they just don’t think about it. Twenty-eight per cent were confident they could walk and do other things and 22 per cent said they want to use their time productive­ly.

Our advice? If you’re walking and need to talk, text or groove to your favourite tunes, step aside. And whenever crossing the street, give your surroundin­gs your full attention.

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