The dangers of texting combined with driving was driven home to me again yesterday morning, literally. A cab blew a red light and smashed into the rear of my car in Manhattan, and I'd bet a lot of money that the driver was on the phone, as so many cab drivers are while on duty. (You've had the experience: sitting down in the back seat, hearing the cabbie's voice, thinking he's saying something to you, only to realize he's on the phone.) So much for the new law prohibiting hand-held cell phone use while driving. Clearly, whether a driver is using “hands free” technology or not, it is the act of being involved in a phone conversation that causes the distraction. But you don't have to be driving a car to be distracted.
Back in September of last year, some friends and colleagues thought I had gone too far by addressing what I perceived to be the dangers of texting and walking . But guess what? I have been vindicated!
An article that has garnered lots of buzz in this weekend's New York Times is chock full of examples of people, particularly young people, walking into (or falling onto) things while using cell phones. If they are lucky, they are only embarrassed. But some have injured themselves, too. And in one of the more disturbing findings, people using their cell phones while walking often failed to notice a clown riding a unicycle, right in front of their noses.
While I'm heartened to see the dangers to these pedestrian cell phone users taken seriously, I'm disappointed that the article failed to address the obvious related problem: injuries to others as a result of distracted walkers. That's happening too. You'll see. One day, there'll be an article about it….