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There's nothing funny about distracted walking turning fatal

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Teen boy walking while texting

Videos of people so busy texting that they run into walls or fall into fountains are all over the internet. Yes, they're good for a chuckle, but what if the video showed someone walking into traffic?

Distracted walking is a thing — and it's on the rise for all age groups, including children and teenagers. In a Safe Kids Worldwide study last year, one in five high-school students and one in eight middle-school students were seen crossing the street while distracted. Safe Kids observed more than 34,000 students crossing streets near schools in 17 states.

Of those distracted students, 59 percent were either texting or on the phone while another 39 percent were wearing headphones.

Safe Kids Worldwide believes distractions have been a major contributor to the 25 percent rise in teenage pedestrian fatalities in recent years.


  • Before crossing the street, children should put down their devices or take off their headphones and look left, right and left.
  • Emphasize it’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most pedestrian injuries happen in places other than intersections.
  • Children younger than 10 should always cross the street with an adult.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and watch out for vehicles backing up.
  • If you need to use the phone, stop on the sidewalk and find a safe place to talk.
  • Turn off devices when walking in a parking lot or places where vehicles can come from unexpected directions.
  • Be aware of other people who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone in danger.

Safe Kids Worldwide

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