[nfb-talk] Fw: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky

Antonio M. Guimaraes iamantonio at cox.net
Sat Jan 30 16:40:30 UTC 2010


Care are not the problem, but the careless humans driving the are.

One need not be afraid to ride, walk or fly, lest he be confined to his 

Antonio Guimaraes

If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup 
trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of 
highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary 
works in Braille.

Shop online and support the NFB of RI at no additional cost to you.
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fw: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky

> Holy cow! A blind person was walking and talking on a cell phone? Well, 
> the guy had guts anyway.
> Anybody else afraid to ride in cars? I mean, I'm not so afraid that I 
> refuse to do it but I just don't like riding in cars any more. It makes me 
> nervous. You're going 30 to 60 miles an hour and all that's keeping you 
> alive is that bozo sitting next to you in the drivers seat. I don't know 
> about your buddies but trusting my life to those guys is pretty scary.
> I've got one friend in particular who has to slam on the brakes and yell, 
> "Oh s**t" at least once every time we go somewhere together. That guy 
> can't keep his mind on what he's doing for 2 minutes. Don't get me wrong, 
> he's a wonderful human being but some people just shouldn't be allowed to 
> drive.
> My fear of riding in a car really began when I read about a blind 
> congressman from somewhere down south who was killed when the car he was a 
> passenger in careened off a bridge. This was before the days of cell 
> phones but the driver was probably putzing with the radio or something. 
> Drivers are always doing that sort of thing.
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Bill Outman" <woutman at earthlink.net>
> To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 3:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fw: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky
>> Very interesting.
>> I don't remember all the details but I heard of a blind person being 
>> killed
>> here in Florida a couple years or so back talking on a cell and walking, 
>> not
>> realizing he had wandered into the street.  We've all got to watch it 
>> when
>> using our gadgets.
>> Bill Outman
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>> Behalf Of John G. Heim
>> Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 10:49 AM
>> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>> Subject: [nfb-talk] Fw: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky
>> Below is a copy of an article someone forwarded to meabout how dangerous 
>> it
>> is to walk and use your cell phone. The reason I'm forwarding it is that 
>> I
>> wwork on the campus of the University of Wisconsin and I can confirm that
>> this is a problem. Over the past few years, the number of collisions with
>> other pedestrians that I have experienced has increased dramatically. 
>> Almost
>> without exception, when I have a collision with someone, they're talking 
>> on
>> a cell phone or listening to an ipod.  Last summer I was hit by a girl on 
>> a
>> bicycle. She got knocked down and at first I was very apologetic. But 
>> then
>> on-lookers told me that she was talking on a cell phone when she hit me. 
>> So
>> she was riding her bike on a crowded sidewalk and talking on her cell 
>> phone.
>> In retrospect, I think she was lucky she didn't hurt me.
>> Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 8:32 AM
>> Subject: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky
>>> Driven to Distraction
>>> Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky.
>>> SAN FRANCISCO - On the day of the collision last month, visibility was
>>> good. The sidewalk was not under repair. As she walked, Tiffany Briggs,
>>> 25, was talking to her grandmother on her cellphone, lost in 
>>> conversation.
>>> Very lost.
>>> "I ran into a truck," Ms. Briggs said.
>>> It was parked in a driveway.
>>> Distracted driving has gained much attention lately because of the
>>> inflated crash risk posed by drivers using cellphones to talk and text.
>>> But there is another growing problem caused by lower-stakes 
>>> multitasking -
>>> distracted walking - which combines a pedestrian, an electronic device 
>>> and
>>> an unseen crack in the sidewalk, the pole of a stop sign, a toy left on
>>> the living room floor or a parked (or sometimes moving) car.
>>> The era of the mobile gadget is making mobility that much more perilous,
>>> particularly on crowded streets and in downtown areas where multiple
>>> multitaskers veer and swerve and walk to the beat of their own devices.
>>> Most times, the mishaps for a distracted walker are minor, like the
>>> lightly dinged head and broken fingernail that Ms. Briggs suffered, a
>>> jammed digit or a sprained ankle, and, the befallen say, a nasty case of
>>> hurt pride. Of course, the injuries can sometimes be serious - and they
>>> are on the rise.
>>> Slightly more than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008
>>> because they got distracted and tripped, fell or ran into something 
>>> while
>>> using a cellphone to talk or text. That was twice the number from 2007,
>>> which had nearly doubled from 2006, according to a study conducted by 
>>> Ohio
>>> State University, which says it is the first to estimate such accidents.
>>> "It's the tip of the iceberg," said Jack L. Nasar, a professor of city 
>>> and
>>> regional planning at Ohio State, noting that the number of mishaps is
>>> probably much higher considering that most of the injuries are not 
>>> severe
>>> enough to require a hospital visit. What is more, he said, texting is
>>> rising sharply and devices like the iPhone have thousands of new, 
>>> engaging
>>> applications to preoccupy phone users.
>>> Mr. Nasar supervised the statistical analysis, which was done by Derek
>>> Troyer, one of his graduate students. He looked at records of emergency
>>> room visits compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
>>> Examples of such visits include a 16-year-old boy who walked into a
>>> telephone pole while texting and suffered a concussion; a 28-year-old 
>>> man
>>> who tripped and fractured a finger on the hand gripping his cellphone; 
>>> and
>>> a 68-year-old man who fell off the porch while talking on a cellphone,
>>> spraining a thumb and an ankle and causing dizziness.
>>> Young people injured themselves more often. About half the visits Mr.
>>> Troyer studied were by people under 30, and a quarter were 16 to 20 
>>> years
>>> old. But more than a quarter of those injured were 41 to 60 years old.
>>> Pedestrians, like drivers, have long been distracted by myriad tasks, 
>>> like
>>> snacking or reading on the go. But the constant interaction with
>>> electronic devices has made single-tasking seem boring or even
>>> unproductive.
>>> Cognitive psychologists, neurologists and other researchers are 
>>> beginning
>>> to study the impact of constant multitasking, whether behind a desk or 
>>> the
>>> wheel or on foot. It might stand to reason that someone looking at a 
>>> phone
>>> to read a message would misstep, but the researchers are finding that 
>>> just
>>> talking on a phone takes its own considerable toll on cognition and
>>> awareness.
>>> Sometimes, pedestrians using their phones do not notice objects or 
>>> people
>>> that are right in front of them - even a clown riding a unicycle. That 
>>> was
>>> the finding of a recent study at Western Washington University in
>>> Bellingham, Wash., by a psychology professor, Ira Hyman, and his 
>>> students.
>>> One of the students dressed as a clown and unicycled around a central
>>> square on campus. About half the people walking past by themselves said
>>> they had seen the clown, and the number was slightly higher for people
>>> walking in pairs. But only 25 percent of people talking on a cellphone
>>> said they had, Mr. Hyman said.
>>> He said the term commonly applied to such preoccupation is "inattention
>>> blindness," meaning a person can be looking at an object but fail to
>>> register it or process what it is.
>>> Particularly fascinating, Mr. Hyman said, is that people walking in 
>>> pairs
>>> were more than twice as likely to see the clown as were people talking 
>>> on
>>> a cellphone, suggesting that the act of simply having a conversation is
>>> not the cause of inattention blindness.
>>> One possible explanation is that a cellphone conversation taxes not just
>>> auditory resources in the brain but also visual functions, said Adam
>>> Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San 
>>> Francisco.
>>> That combination, he said, prompts the listener to, for example, create
>>> visual imagery related to the conversation in a way that overrides or
>>> obscures the processing of real images.
>>> By comparison, walking and chewing gum (that age-old measure of 
>>> pedestrian
>>> skill at multitasking) is a snap.
>>> "Walking and chewing are repetitive, well-practiced tasks that become
>>> automatic," Dr. Gazzaley said. "They don't compete for resources like
>>> texting and walking."
>>> Further, he said, the cellphone gives people a constant opportunity to
>>> pursue goals that feel more important than walking down the street.
>>> "An animal would never walk into a pole," he said, noting survival
>>> instincts would trump other priorities.
>>> For Shalamar Jones, 19, the priority was keeping in touch with her
>>> boyfriend. Last month while she was Christmas shopping in a mall near 
>>> San
>>> Francisco, she was texting him when - bam! - she walked into the window 
>>> of
>>> a New York & Company store, thinking it was a door.
>>> "I thought it was open," she said, noting that no harm was done. "I just
>>> started laughing at myself."
>>> The worst part is the humiliation, said Christopher Black, 20, an art
>>> student at San Francisco State University who 18 months ago had his own
>>> pratfall.
>>> At the time, Mr. Black said, the sidewalks were packed with pedestrians.
>>> So he decided he could move faster if he walked in the street, keeping
>>> close to the parked cars. The trouble is he was also texting - with a
>>> woman he was flirting with.
>>> He unwittingly started to veer into the road, prompting an oncoming car 
>>> to
>>> honk. He said he instinctively jumped toward the sidewalk but, in the
>>> process, forgot about the line of parked cars.
>>> "I splayed against the side of the car, and the phone hit the ground," 
>>> he
>>> said. He and his phone were uninjured, except for his pride. "It was
>>> pretty significantly embarrassing."
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