Texting while crossing the street has sadly become the norm for many people. Similarly to drivers using their phones behind the wheel, texting while walking in the middle of an intersection is an accident waiting to happen. A 2012 study featured in TIME noted that 29.8 percent of pedestrians are distracted by their mobile devices in the most high-risk locations--a number that may very well increase in the following years.

In order to see how much of a dangerous distraction texting while crossing the street has become, researchers from Seattle, Washington, observed 1,102 pedestrians at 20 most populated and accident-prone intersections in the metropolis during rush hours: 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 A,M.,12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M., and 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. They took note of how pedestrians crossed, how long it took them to do so, and whether or not they obeyed traffic rules. The kind of device the pedestrians were preoccupied with was also taken into account.

Results show that the top three distractions were "listening to music (11.2%), followed by text messaging (7.3%), and using a handheld phone (6.2%)." However, texting was considered to be the most "absorbing distraction," as people who click away at intersections took 1.87 seconds longer to cross and were four times more likely to break traffic rules and not look at where they're headed.

With the growing number of road accidents directly or indirectly caused by mobile devices, it's important for people to learn how to become responsible users. Before you cross the street with your phone in hand, remember that you're not only responsible for your own safety, but for the safety of the people who are with you as well.

(Photo by Yoshikazu TAKADA via Flickr Creative Commons)

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