Distracted walking due to texting is causing a spike in trips to the emergency rooms.
Even in the short time we spent on The University of Tampa's campus Wednesday, we found plenty of semi-coordinated students walking, texting and totally oblivious to people right next to them, completely absorbed in their smart phones.
It's a guilty pleasure that's getting people ages 16 to 25 in trouble. Since 2005, the numbers have doubled in the last few years, according to researchers at The Ohio State University, who polled emergency rooms all over the country.
"The biggest fear is that when kids are walking to school, they walk into traffic because they're not paying attention to the roads coming-up," said Dr. Patrick Mularoni at All Children's Hospital in St. Pete.
"I tripped right over there," said UT student Stephen Nobles, who pointed to a curb near the cobblestone streets on campus. "Because I didn't see the curb, and I almost just busted right in the middle of the road and there was a car driving by, so I coulda died. Really close call!"
"Once I walked into a pole that was like that high and it actually really hurt," said UT student Demitria Hasapoglou."
"A certain generation is not checking their text messages every three seconds," we said to UT Band Director Jeff Traster. "Absolutely," he said. "But the students do it. It's amazing how tethered they are and how automatic it is!"
And every time our camera looked at somebody, and caught them walking and texting, they put it away like nothing was happening.
"We just saw you doing something on your phone, what was that?," we asked UT student Lexus Guerra.
"I was Tweeting. Tweeting and walking! Yes!," she said. "Have you ever had a trip or a bad fall?," we asked. "No, not yet," she replied with a smile. "I don't Text or Tweet while passing the crossways, but right here is fine, because I know people are just walking." "So if you bump into somebody, not so bad," we said. "Yeah," she giggled.
"Tell me what you were doing with your phone just now, while you were walking," we asked UT student Taylor Hartl. "I was on Instagram." "We found Tweeters, Texters and now Instagrammers. Have you ever had a bad fall, while you're involved in your phone?," we asked her. "Maybe once, going up the stairs, but never crossing the street, so I guess that's better." "What happened when you were going up the stairs?," we asked. "I kinda face planted and it was real embarrassing!"
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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