A new study has found that people who text while walking are more likely to walk into things. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, looked at how often people who were texting while walking collided with objects or other people.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that people who were texting while walking were twice as likely to collide with something than those who were not texting. They were also 1.5 times more likely to have a near-collision.
Lead author Dr. Charles Elder, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UNC Chapel Hill, said that the findings highlight the need for more public education about the dangers of texting while walking.
“We hope that our findings can be used to educate the public about the risks of texting while walking,” Dr. Elder said. “We also hope that our findings will lead to the development of technologies that can help to reduce the risks of texting while walking.”
The study looked at a total of 1,171 people who were observed walking in a busy urban area. Of those people, 21% were observed to be texting while walking.
Researchers found that people who were texting while walking were more likely to veer off course, and that they took longer to correct their course when they did veer off. This led to more collisions and near-collisions.
Dr. Elder said that the findings have implications for public safety, and that more research is needed to understand the risks of texting while walking.
“Texting while walking is a relatively new phenomenon, and we don’t yet fully understand the risks associated with it,” he said. “Further research is needed to determine the best ways to reduce the risks of texting while walking.”