Texting while driving is already illegal, but a new study has shown the dangers people veering off path, slowing down, and changing their walk while texting.
The study from the University of Queensland entitled Texting and Walking: Strategies for Postural Control and Implications for Safety investigated the effect of using a mobile phone on a person’s ability and walk and their safety when in public.
There are regular anecdotal reports of people walking into lampposts, tripping over train line, and falling off curbs while distracted because they are using their mobile phone, but in this study the researchers were looking for more scientific evidence.
The subjects of the study had their movement tracked as they walked a distance of around nine metres, once while texting, once while reading a text, and once without distraction as a control.
The researchers found that when people walking while using their phone, they slow down and swerve off their intended path, and if people are typing then they also tended to slow down. They also found that people using their phones walked “like a robot”, holding their posture rigid, which can upset their balance and lead to a higher chance of the person tripping.
lastly, the study that more than a third of the 26 people who took part in the experiment reported having had some sort of accident whilst using their phone on the streets.