TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - We have become so engrossed in the world of our smartphones that the regular world is reaching out to hurt us.
People with their mind on their screens have walked into traffic, fallen off curbs, and slammed into posts.
Texting and walking right into trouble has become so common, emergency room workers say the number of distracted pedestrians who turned up for treatment more than doubled over ten years---and who knows how many won't admit that's how they hurt themselves?
Was that text message really important enough to not notice a bear...
Fall into a fountain?
Or step into an icy canal?
After harsh lessons like those, maybe those dedicated texters reformed.
If you look up from your own phone you'll see the dangerous addiction.
People think it's perfectly fine to roam through the world with their eyes, and their minds on a small piece of glass instead of the big, beautiful, world full of obstacles.
UA Junior Clara Dzodzomenyo conceded, "I've definitely almost ran into trashcans and those little poles and a bunch of other things."
The National Safety Council found more than 11 thousand walkers hurt themselves because they were distracted by their cell phones. That was from 2000 to 2011. The Safety Council says the rate of injuries is rising almost exactly as fast as the rate of cellphone use.
More recent analysis by the Pew Trusts showed injuries from texting and walking just keep going up.
That study showed texting and walking led to about four thousand E-R visits from 2010 to 2013---and researchers believe those numbers vastly underestimate actual injuries because people are too embarrassed to admit how they were hurt.
Orthopaedic surgeons patch up a lot of those injuries. They're so concerned they've put out a video warning. In it, a young man, engrossed in his phone walks down a street, oblivious to all the people and things he knocks down. An announcer with a suitably ominous voice says, “Warning! Until this threat can be contained we must all be on the lookout for the dreaded digital deadwalkers. They're not looking out for you.”
As the young man is about to plow into an older couple, the woman stops him and says, “Dude! Engage!"
Oh sure, you can say you're multi tasking but what you're really doing is trying to split your attention between the text and the world and you're not doing either one very well.
It's more than the danger of running into a wall, or in front of a car. UA Police Sergeant Filbert Barrerra says being focused on your phone gives an attacker an edge.
"We got to pay attention to our surroundings and make sure we don't get surprised by somebody who may have some bad intentions."
And imagine what could happen if you're a distracted walker, when a distracted driver's headed your way.