Distracted walking accidents are on the rise - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Distracted walking accidents are on the rise

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BOARDMAN, Ohio -

We've all seen people walking down the street using their cell phones and not paying attention to much else.   While it certainly isn't against the law, it is a growing problem.   In fact, last year alone more than 1,100 people were treated in the emergency room for injuries related to walking and using a cell phone or another electronic device.

A quick search of distracted walking on YouTube turns up plenty of videos. While many are comical, the idea of distracted walking is often no laughing matter.

"We talk a lot about kids texting and driving, teenagers and adults texting and driving, but texting and walking is now being an issue with children texting, walking across the street, not seeing the car and being hit by the car," said Gia Ramsey with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

While child pedestrian deaths and injuries are down, distracted walking accidents among teens and adults have soared. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows pedestrian fatalities rose by 4.2% from 2009 to 2010 and injuries increased by 19%. Injury rates are the highest in September.

"Each one of those are preventable whether it be from the pedestrian that is walking or from the driver," said Ramsey.

Which is why Akron Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Specialist Gia Ramsey says it is so important for people to put the phone down and pay attention.

"It is really important to cross streets at cross walks, making sure that they are following the directions and that they are making eye contact with cars when they are crossing a street, especially when they are rounding corners," said Ramsey.

There have been 355 pedestrian fatalities since 2000 and more than 15,500 injuries.

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