Texting Leads to Injuries Galore

Texting is a popular form of communication. Maybe too popular. Analysts predict that 2008 will see some 2 trillion text messages sent around the world. Nowhere do they send more text messages than in the UK, where 6 million pedestrians were injured by walking into stationary objects while texting.

Texting is a popular form of communication. Maybe too popular. Analysts predict that 2008 will see some 2 trillion text messages sent around the world. Nowhere do they send more text messages than in the UK, where 6 million pedestrians were injured by walking into stationary objects while texting.

Yes, you read that correctly. We aren't talking about stress injuries of thumbs due to repeated key presses. We're talking about more serious injuries, such as broken noses and fractured skulls. Apparently British pedestrians become so caught up with sending text messages that they lose all sense of what's going on around them. The result? They walk into lamp posts, garbage cans and other objects on the sidewalk. Should there be no "texting while walking" laws put into effect?

I've seen my fair share of distracted pedestrians in NYC. In fact, I saw someone almost walk in front of a bus. Lucky for her, another pedestrian grabbed her just in the nick of time. The UK Daily Mirror didn't report any text-related deaths in the U.K., but I think 6 million injuries is enough to bring light to the issue.

A UK phone directory company, 118118, decided to conduct a little poll. It determined that that 63% of Britons admitted to becoming completely distracted while composing text messages. Being blind to your surroundings is always asking for trouble. What's more, fully one quarter of those polled supported the idea of "mobile lanes." Ha! This strikes me as hilarious. Many European sidewalks already have areas designated for bicycles. Adding another lane for people using their mobile phones will only result in more injuries, not less. Imagine a lane full of people peering into their mobile phone screens rather than at what's in front of them. If you put all the distracted people in one place, they are sure to walk into each other again and again and again. Of course, this may be a great way for singles to meet one another, but I have a funny feeling that most of the time it will just be annoying (and amusing) and still lead to bruised foreheads.

One part of London is taking the matter so seriously, it has decided to cover lamp posts with padding. Brick Lane is testing the padded lamp post idea to see how it might prevent facial injuries to pedestrians. Project spokesperson William Ostrom said: "Hopefully this scheme will reduce the risk of embarrassing injury."

Well, it might reduce the risk of injury. I think walking into a lamp post, padded or not, is going to still be embarrassing.

Has your practice ever treated anyone with a text-related injury?