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Officials struggle with protecting pedestrians as they walk and text


The country’s safety officials are trying to protect pedestrians from getting hit by a car or tripping on the sidewalk, as many Americans are not only distracted by their cell phones while driving, but as they walk as well, according to The Associated Press.

The majority is either guilty of doing so or has seen someone else walk by in shopping malls, sidewalks or campuses with their head down as they text or play with their phone. However, many do not realize the safety issues with this. According to the news source, distracted walkers being treated at hospitals quadrupled in the last seven years, and many believe this is underreported.

“I see students as soon as they break from a class, they have their cell phones out and they’re texting to one another. They’re walking through the door and bumping into one another,” Jack Nasar, an Ohio State University professor and expert on environmental psychology, told the news source. “People think they can do it, that they are somehow better.”

States are trying to find a way to combat this issue. For instance, highway safety officials in Delaware placed stickers on crosswalks and busy intersections saying “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.” Arkansas, Illinois, New York and Utah started to implement various fines, but it went nowhere.

“Look, I get distracted all the time,” Utah State Rep. Craig Frank, a Republican who opposed the proposal to fine people $50, told the news outlet. “I have a smartphone, too. Walking on sidewalks, in stores and malls, and maybe in a crosswalk sometimes I’m using my cell phone. But I try to stay connected to my environment. I never thought the government needed to cite me for using my cell phone in a reasonable manner.”

According to the International Digital Times, it seems as though many feel differently about whether a person should get penalized or not, as many individuals feel they should, others are very opposed.  Whether this legislation goes through or not, it is no secret a person’s cell phone is valuable to them. To ensure the user protects their mobile device and the data contained in it, the owner may want to invest in a cell phone tracking software to always keep tabs on their device in the event it is lost or stolen.