Your cell phone can keep you connected to friends around the world, bring you hours of enjoyment from different games and apps, and even let you catch that Pokemon you’ve been trying too hard to get at your local deli.
But who knew your phone could be out to hurt you as well?
It is no secret that cell phone usage has skyrocketed within the past generation. It has been getting harder and harder to keep our eyes off of our phones, but distracted walking is becoming a full fledged epidemic in the United States.
Distracted walking is defined as not being able to keep your eyes on the road. This can be dangerous as everyday objects in the middle of the road can pose severe health risks. Low hanging tree branches, fast swinging doors, and step-down curbs can all cause a cell phone user to trip and fall into other pedestrians or into oncoming traffic.
Just last year the National Safety Council developed a study on distracted walking within its annual Injury Facts report. As reported on The Bulletin, the council found that between 2000 and 2011, more than 11,100 injuries were the result of distracted walking nationwide.
Of that number, more than half of all walking injures related to cell phone use happened at home, and in total, a full 80% were due to a fall.
What is more shocking is that pedestrian fatalities due to distracted walking is on the rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association proved that pedestrian deaths nationwide have dramatically increased 15% since 2009.
It is not just walking either. Cell phones have increasingly put high school students at risk of “text neck,” an injury characterized by a slumped neck, tight chest muscles, and rounded shoulders. It comes from teenagers constantly looking down at their phones, and is causing chronic headaches, severe neck pain, and back injuries due to poor posture in teens all over the United States.
But don’t worry if you get hurt walking distractedly, the majority of urgent care centers are open until 7 pm or later on weeknights, with 40% staying open past 9 pm every night.
Good thing, because you never know when your cell phone will come to betray you.