According to a recent CBS News report, the dangers of teenagers being distracted by cellphones and other devices is not limited to their time behind the wheel. It turns out, teenagers are endangering themselves and others because they are distracted and walking around traffic. The report notes a 25% increase in pedestrian accidents among sixteen to nineteen year olds during the last five years, with this small and seemingly more mature demographic making up half of all pedestrian deaths for those under age twenty.
We have all witnessed the trend, from kids a few years ago texting on flip-style cell phones while sitting on the couch watching television to kids today multitasking, texting, surfing the web, and listening to music on their oversized headphones all while walking down the street. Parents know the difficulty of getting their teenagers to put down their phones, and many homes now have cell phone free times and places (like around the dinner table, for example). But one place that has been overlooked as a cell phone free zone is when crossing the street. CBS cites a study where fully one in five adolescents entering a crosswalk near school were distracted be their mobile devices.
While parents are already talking to their kids about cellphone free time at home and distraction-free driving, parents should not overlook having serious talks with teenagers about the dangers of being distracted and walking, especially around streets and cars. Teens often take for granted that cars will slow down for pedestrian right-of-way areas, but we all know this is often not the case. Of course, this is not a problem limited to teenagers. In any city you’ll see adults of all walks of life crossing the street, often in a hurry, while on the phone.