Text and the city

Posted on: 17 September 2010 by Allan McLachlan

One in 10 mobile phone users have been in an accident caused by sending texts while walking.

http://owl-oiw-staging.s3.amazonaws.com/upload_datas/91/landscape_medium.jpg?1284731004One in 10 mobile phone users have been injured while texting, according Dr Joanna Lumdsen of Aston University. Injuries include walking into lamp-posts, tripping off pavements and stepping in front of moving cars.

Texting utilises so much of our brain's resources that people simply don't see potential hazards as they walk down the street.

'The way mobile phone devices are designed means that we have to focus our visual attention and a lot of our mental processing resources on our mobile phones if want to write and send a text message,' she told the British Science Festival at Birmingham.

In London, two teenage pedestrians are injured or killed every day as result of using mobile phones while walking.

Dr Lumsden's research looks for ways mobile phone manufacturers could improve the design of phones to make texting on the move safer. That could include easier to use voice operated phones, or phones that respond to gestures and movements.

'The safest thing is for people not to text as they walk along,' she said. 'But a lot of people in business are expected to carry a BlackBerry. They are under pressure to reply to calls instantly, and to respond to text messages and emails straight away.'

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