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Distracted walking compounds danger of distracted driving

A new survey suggests the danger of distracted driving is being compounded by distracted walking.

Dave Melton of Liberty International, the parent group of Liberty Mutual, says more and more pedestrians are chatting and texting on their cell phones as they cross streets.

55% of people surveyed agree it's dangerous, yet nearly half admit to doing it.

"Both drivers and pedestrians acknowledge the dangerous or risky behavior involved in speaking on a phone or texting while either walking or driving, and yet they continue to do it," says Melton.  "You have two groups of people who are about to interact, and neither one is taking responsibility for themselves."

Pedestrian fatalities rose 4% in 2010, the latest year for which data is available.

Melton says a growing body of research shows it's actually impossible to do two things at once.  "Multi-tasking is a myth," he says.

He says if people became aware of that fact, they might stop using their phones when they should be paying attention to something else.





Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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