January 5, 2011
Recently, several videos of people falling as the result of staring in to the glow of their electronic mobile devices have become the focus of media attention. This trend is becoming more and more prevalent as texting while walking is a major safety concern in cities such as New York and Los Angeles. In a very Lemmings fashion, people are blindly walking off ledges, in to streets, and even in to fountains because they just can’t take their eyes off of the little screen in front of them.
In this first video you see a 10-year-old boy playing a video game while going either to or from school in the subway. Needless to say, while his attention was drawn to his video game, he continued to walk forward until he landed on the subway tracks below. Thankfully, a bystander was quick to jump down and rescue the boy before a train arrived.
In another incident, highly publicized by the media, a woman was walking through the mall texting when she fell in to the fountain. The video below was taken by mall staff watching the CCTV cameras and having a chuckle at her expense. She has since threatened to file a lawsuit against the mall for failing to respond and allowing a mocking video to be leaked to YouTube by their employees.
It’s clear that a hazard is present here that wasn’t in generation’s past. Many people have become so infatuated with the content displayed on tiny LCD screens that they unconsciously throw their sense of well-being out the window in favor of finding out the latest gossip or achieving a high score.
Pedestrian texting isn’t the only major concern. A report out of the National Traffic and Safety Administration revealed that around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving. In that year alone, there were over 500 thousand accidents in the U.S. that resulted in bodily injury, and over 5,100 that resulted in death.
These examples really beg the question, are we as a society being hypnotized by our electronics?