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Smartphone distractions lead to injuries

Tuesday, September 23, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Our June PEMCO Poll addressed it, and now it’s being confirmed by worldwide safety groups: Distracted walking is a growing problem for teenagers.
   Pedestrian fatalities held steady for years until 2010, then started to rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association blames smartphone distractions, at least in part.
   Earlier this month the city of Chongqing, China, created a special sidewalk lane for smartphone users to help them avoid bumping into other pedestrians.
   The Safe Kids Worldwide advocacy group says teens use smartphones more than other age groups, and half of teens surveyed say they use one while walking to school.
   What’s the big deal? Distracted pedestrians can – and do – step into traffic and get hit by cars, fall into ditches, and do other awkward pratfalls that often go unreported because they’re embarrassing. Distracted pedestrians also are at greater risk of being assaulted because they’re oblivious to their surroundings.

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