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Blinded By The Text: Distracted Pedestrians, And Must-See Herzog

If, in the midst of driving, you get that sudden pang to check your phone, or even worse, text, don’t succumb.

That’s the message from the acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog’s latest documentary about texting while driving — the “must-see” video of the weekend.  The 30-minute flick, on view above, depicts harrowing testimonials of victims, their family members and perpetrators whose decision to keep their eyes on their phones instead of the road had egregious consequences.

Texting while driving is a dangerous trend that is sparking new legislation banning the practice in numerous states including Massachusetts.  On the rise, however, is another cellphone-related public danger – but one that doesn’t get as much attention as texting in the driver’s seat – texting while walking.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a study published in the journal Injury Prevention, texting and

talking on cellphones while on foot – or “distracted walking” — was the cause of approximately 1,500 injuries in 2010 – which up from 550 injuries in 2004. This study is mentioned in a number of articles that have started popping up on the public safety risks of  pedestrians distracted by their cellphone-use.

In a recent post, The Atlantic reported on studies that examined the attention status of pedestrians while talking on their phones:

In one experiment from a few years back, pedestrians talking on their phones recalled less of their surroundings than did regular walkers. In another test, researchers confirmed this “inattentional blindness” when they found that, compared to typical pedestrians, people talking and walking were less likely to notice even something as ridiculous as a clown on a unicycle.

Last month, an article in the Boston Globe illustrated the deviating tendencies of texting pedestrians: Continue reading