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Distracted Walking Risks Have Lawmakers Considering Regulations

By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We all know the dangers of texting and driving, but there’s new data showing the dangers of distracted walking.

More than 1,100 people were treated in emergency rooms last year for injuries suffered while walking and using a cell phone or other electronic device.  That’s according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Officials believe even those numbers are underreported, pointing to a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents. But, there’s no exact data on how many of those were distracted by electronics at the time. Still, lawmakers are asking whether government should regulate distracted walking.

And here in Center City, people say the distracted pedestrians aren’t only dangerous, they’re. “Extremely annoying, and they get in front of you, they’re not aware of their surroundings, they’re not aware that you’re behind them.”

Deborah from West Deptford says yes. “It’s unfortunate that adults have to be policed like that but it’s a reality. It’s something that’s going to have to happen, and it’s going to have to be more than a $50 fine.”

But state and local governments have had little success trying to pass such legislation, and instead are focusing on raising public awareness.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there’s been a decrease in overall traffic deaths, but an increase in pedestrian deaths and injuries.

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