Cell Phones Fail the Eyeball Test for Public Safety
"The dangers of distracted driving are well known and have sparked new laws, but safety experts are increasingly concerned about a more recent trend: distracted walking," writes Katherine Shaver.
Shaver's argument, summed up:
Pedestrians listening to music, texting, talking or otherwise absorbed in their phones are making themselves more vulnerable by tuning out traffic around them, experts say. While there is little hard data on the problem, safety experts say there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Many say they think smartphone distractions are at least partly to blame for the number of pedestrian fatalities beginning to rise again in 2010 after years of holding steady or declining slightly.
Shaver also cites a recent Montgomery County public safety campaign urging children to put away their cell phones while crossing the street as well as the example of Chongqing in China, which recently installed separate paths for pedestrians using mobile devices.