Study: Texting interferes with other motor skills

Posted Jan 23, 2014 by W. Mark Dendy
Everyone knows the dangers of texting while driving, but a new study out of Australia's University of Queensland looks at texting and walking. But the findings should come as no surprise.
Anyone who has tried to walk while texting knows how difficult it can be.
A previous study in 2012 examined accidents caused by pedestrians distracted while multitasking when crossing the street.
The study, published in the journal "Injury Prevention," examined the behavior of pedestrians at "20 high-risk intersections during randomly assigned time intervals throughout the year."
Of the 1,102 pedestrians studied crossing the street, 11.2 percent were observed listening to music, 7.3 percent were found text messaging on their phone, and 6 percent were talking on their phone. The study concluded that of those three distracting activities cataloged, texting appeared to have the most effect on "how quickly and safely people crossed the street."
The recent study, however, goes a step further, (no pun intended) postulating that "cognitive distraction, altered mechanical demands, and the reduced visual field associated with texting are likely to have an impact," posing an additional risk to safety for pedestrians particularly when "navigating obstacles or crossing the road."
In laymen's terms, what the researchers looked at was essentially walking without the use of a phone, walking while texting on a phone, and walking while reading text on a phone.
They found that subjects who text messaged while walking, walked slower and deviated from a straight path in comparison to those who walked without using a phone. The same results were observed when subjects read text on their phones to a lesser extent than those who were text messaging.
With smartphones so much a part of everyday life, a survey of emergency room patients published by Ohio State University in June 2013 indicated that "injuries related to using a cell phone while walking" doubled from 2005 to 2010.
Word of advice: If you are reading Digital Journal on your phone or tablet while walking — STOP! We at Digital Journal do not want you to be the next news story!