Texting and Walking: Why its Not a Good Idea - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Texting and Walking: Why its Not a Good Idea

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If you spend a lot of time on your cell phone or a blackberry, then you no doubt walk and text at the same time.  You probably don't even think twice about it and researchers say that's the problem.

Erika Schaefer is a typical college student, texting on the go.

"Every time I'm walking to class, in between, it doesn't matter, I'm texting and walking," said Erika Schaefer, senior, Stony Brook University.

But with our heads buried in our little keyboards, "I think he had his head down texting for at least five seconds,"  said Eric Lamberg, researcher at Stony Brook University.  Texting and walking makes us a little clueless.

"I mean sometimes I bump into things, but it happens," said Kathy Canales, freshman at Stony Brook University.

It happens because the two tasks are competing for our brain's attention say researchers at New York's Stony Brook University.

They found during a controlled study, even the most adept texters weren't aware of what they're doing. 

"When they were walking and texting deviation was 60 percent away from the straight line.  That's a huge amount to be off course," said Lisa M. Muratori, research with Stony Brook University.

Veering off course even slightly may not seem like a big deal, but hospitals report a growing number of injuries from texting and walking, from chin scrapes to broken bones.

In Michigan, a texting Shawn Spencer walked right into traffic.

"Flying through the air, thinking what the hell?  Hit the ground," said Shawn Spencer who was hit by a truck walking and texting.

And another guy didn't notice a baby rolling onto the train tracks.  Rexford, ID recently passed a law banning texting in the street.

In London, they tried padding lampposts.  There's even a new texting app that actually shows the ground below.  Researchers say we are figuring it out.

"I sense other people," said Erika Schaefer.  But for now many of us are out of step with the world around us.