It is a well-known fact that texting while driving leads to many collisions in British Columbia, but a new study also implies that distracted walkers can also be blamed.
In a study recently published it is affirmed that people who text and walk at the same time have decreased reflexes, while also walking more slowly and increasing the chance to be hit. Automated video analysis was used in order to observe the behavior of pedestrians at rush hours. Over 357 pedestrians crossing at a four-way intersection were analyzed in two days. According to official statistics, over 76% of the accidents in which pedestrians are implied take place at intersections.
According to lead author Rushdi Alsaleh, over a third of the pedestrians were using their mobile phone in some manner, either talking or texting and they were visibly distracted. The main problem is that distracted pedestrians tend to walk more slowly, spending more time while crossing the road and creating the potential for troubles with drivers. Most of them tended to find themselves still crossing the road although the light was already red.
An interesting discovery was the fact that the movements also varied, depending on what the pedestrians were doing on their phone. While those who were talking on their phone took slower steps, those who were texting and reading took shorter, faster steps.
The research will also help in the development of autonomous cars. Using the patterns identified in the video, cars can learn to identify and anticipate their actions, reducing the risk of accidents and potentially lethal situations.
All readers are advised to pay attention when they cross the road. Do not use your smartphone while you are walking in general as you still remain prone to other accidents. And there are many cases where a bit of extra attention could have made a difference.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.