We all know that teens are addicted to their phones. Making it through a meal, a class, or even a conversation without an interrupting text seems almost like a distant fantasy. But many teens are having trouble looking up for anything—even oncoming traffic.
Last summer, researchers in Seattle monitored the habits of pedestrians at busy crosswalks. Of the 1,100+ subjects studied, almost a third were listening to music, texting, on talking on a cell phone while crossing the street.
Of all of the participants, those texting took the longest to cross, adding an extra two
seconds to their trip. Two seconds on the pavement may not sound like a serious danger, but those texting were also four times more likely to engage in at least one unsafe crosswalk behavior, such as crossing midblock or disobeying the lights.
The negligence of texting jaywalkers has even reached a criminal level in certain areas. Last summer in Fort Lee, NJ, police officers cracked down on unsafe crossing habits and handed out over 117 jaywalking tickets in only a month and a half, the majority of which went to those texting while walking. Many of those charged, particularly teens, were likely left wondering if the text was worth the $85 fine. Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli hopes that the tickets will serve as a lesson to kids, commenting that “We just hope their parents would make them pay the fine.”
And while we’re on the subject, it never hurts to remind teens that texting and driving is deadly. When you text while driving at 55 mph, your eyes go off the road for the length of a football field! Do Something.Org has a great campaign going where teens can get a chance to win a $5000 scholarship by helping to spread the world about this evil activity.
Is texting while walking becoming a problem in your school or town? Do you think that a fine for texting while crossing would help keep teens’ eyes on the road? What about driving? I would love to hear any creative solutions to reaching kids (and adults). Comments please!!!