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

Test Your Skill: How Distracted Are You When Texting?

A while back, The New York Times published a nifty little interactive game to determine how hopelessly distracted we can be when we’re texting while driving. (I failed miserably, with a much slower reaction and double the number of missed gates while I was texting.)

So, in commemoration of Massachusetts’ new statewide ban on text-driving — a law that police say they will enforce vigorously — here’s the online game for you to check out. Hopefully it will help you take the texting ban to heart.

Daily Rounds: Stop Texting Now! Mammogram Mixed Messages; Innovation Chief Snapshot; The ADHD Gene; A New Nurturing Planet?

Mass. texting while driving ban begins Thursday – BostonHerald.com “The new law also prohibits scanning the Internet on a phone or mobile device while driving and bans anyone under 18 from talking on a cell phone while driving. Violators will face fines ranging from $100 for a first offense and up to $500 for repeat offenses. The ban still applies when drivers are at a stoplight.” (bostonherald.com)

Mammogram Benefit Is Seen for Women in Their 40s – NYTimes.com “The study’s conclusions contrast with those of a report last year by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group that issues guidelines on cancer screening, questioning the benefit of screening women younger than 50.” (The New York Times)

New 'Innovation' Chief Comes From 'Model' Health Care System – Kaiser Health News Dr. Richard Gilfillan was just appointed the new acting director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. "It is one of the most important positions in HHS because almost all of the reform of the delivery system potential hinges on this innovation center. It is as key a position as there is," said Gail Wilensky, who ran the Health Care Financing Administration — now CMS — from 1990 to 1992.” (kaiserhealthnews.org)

Kids with ADHD more likely to have missing DNA – Boston.com “Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are twice as likely to have missing or extra chromosomes than other children — the first evidence that the disorder is genetic, a new study says.” (Boston Globe)

New Planet May Be Able to Nurture Organisms – NYTimes.com It might be a place that only a lichen or pond scum could love, but astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a very distant planet capable of harboring water on its surface, thus potentially making it a home for plant or animal life.” (The New York Times)