Distracted walking a growing trend

Oct 14, 2013

Drivers aren't the only ones who text or talk while traveling. "Distracted walking" is now a growing trend in the US. And many of the "victims" are teenagers. A new report from Safe Kids Worldwide is entitled, "Teens and Distraction: An In-Depth Look at Teens' Walking Behaviors." 

Keene Hart, from the Quad Cities Safe Kids Coalition, says the study shows nearly 40 percent of middle and high school students text while crossing streets in school zones. And another 40 percent listen to music while going to school. Most of the rest talk on the phone at the same time they walk to school. He says texting while walking is just as bad as texting while driving.

"Inner cities and stuff where it's busier people are always walking, if you take notice, they are either on their cell phone or they are texting on the phone, or they are doing something that's distracting them and not really paying attention to where they are walking. And I think that's why we see a lot of these injuries. They're just not paying attention when they cross the streets."

Volunteers gave children and their parents tips including looking left, right, and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers to make sure they know you're there, and walking with your head up, paying attention to where you're walking. 

The Quad Cities Safe Kids Coalition also told parents to learn their child's route to school, and asked them to check for hazards. Hart plans to meet with Moline officials to ask the city to fix problems, such as faded crosswalk paint, overgrown bushes that block sight lines, and broken curbs and sidewalks. 

The group has been teaching students about pedestrian safety in Illinois and Iowa schools for fourteen years.