New statistics show dangers of texting while walking

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You do not have to go far to see for yourself how distracted people on their cellular telephones can be.  A new study shows injuries due to the distraction have more than doubled in the last few years.  The problem is amplified on college campuses like Missouri State University

"I've people run into each other because of texting and things like that," said MSU student Sierra Carter.

It may not seem like a big deal, until you take a look at the numbers.  An Ohio State University study showed more than 1,500 people were treated in emergency rooms for cell phone-related incidents, compared to 559 in 2004.

In the time it takes to look down and respond to a text message, you can walk across a busy intersection.  Texting and driving statistics show many people behind the wheel also are not paying attention.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 23 percent of all car crashes in 2010 were caused by distracted drivers.

"That motorist may not be watching for you.  They may be looking down at their cell phone or looking down at an iPad," said trauma nurse Jason Martin.

Martin works for CoxHealth in Springfield and travels to schools to try to get the message across.  Teens and college students are the ones most often injured texting while walking.

"People are just getting sidetracked.  They're trying to multi-task, regardless of whether they're walking or driving, and it's just getting them into trouble," Martin said.

Numbers from Cox show an increase in auto-pedestrian accidents in the last year.  The hospital does not, however, specifically track whether phones are a factor.  If every hospital did, Martin believes the numbers would be even higher.

"There's so many people walking around with them (phones) that it doesn't really surprise me," said Nicole Arnone, and MSU student.

Students may agree, but that does not mean they they have no plans of paying attention anytime soon.

Phone-related injuries include falling off walkways or bridges and walking into traffic.