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Report: There's Danger in Texting While Walking

Although it's quite obvious why texting while driving can be a fatal act, who would have thought that texting while walking could be dangerous? Apparently there are reports of people walking into cars and lamp posts because their eyes are glued to the screen.

According to a report by Dr. Joanna Lumdsen of Aston University, one in ten mobile phone users have harmed themselves while walking and texting. During the British Science Festival at Birmingham, Lumdsen said that new studies suggest that texting requires so much brain power that mobile phone users simply can't see one in five potential hazards as they walk down the sidewalk.

"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 audience during her presentation. "Accident and emergency departments are seeing more people as a result of texting."

She also added that two London-based teenage pedestrians are killed or injured each day as a result of texting while walking.

To prove her point, she previously conducted a laboratory experiment in which volunteers followed a color-coded path while texting on their phones. Video monitors mounted around the path flashed colors and instructions on how to avoid stepping on one particular color painted on the floor. Results showed that one in five colors were "hit."

"In real life this means that one in five bollards, lamp pots, raised curbs or even moving vehicles is likely to go unnoticed by people texting and walking," she said. "The safest thing is for people not to text as they walk along. But a lot of people in business are expected to carry a BlackBerry or mobile phone and be in constant contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are under pressure to reply to calls instantly, and to respond to text messages and emails straight away."

Currently Lumdsen is researching ways for manufacturers to improve on-the-go texting including easier voice controls and gesture-controlled solutions.