Texting while walking is a profound social problem, as ingrained into society as John Hurt’s voice is into film and television (we all want a voice like his). But this phenomenon has remained un-touched by rule or regulation, until now.
Back in 2010, a series of surveys carried out by the Ohio State University revealed that an average of 1,500 pedestrians had ended up in the A and E room because of ‘phone related incidents’. This on it’s own is horrifying, but that’s not all.
According to the Wall St. Journal, in an article they wrote earlier this year, the number of people visiting the emergency room because of phones in the last five years has sky-rocketed by 124 per cent. This puts the number of people visiting the emergency room WELL over 1,500 by now. I imagine the App Pokemon Go may also have had something to do with this…
So how can we tackle this issue head on, and not leave the public going ape-crazy? The answer, in fact, lies in one simple video posted to YouTube 4 years ago.
In this video, the narrator and maker of the film, Casey Neistat, suggested that people who want to use their phones on a busy street should step to one side of the street before they get their phones out and use them with their backs to the wall. This system has multiple benefits: the user is not at risk of any collisions, the other pedestrians can go about their day uninterrupted, and everyone will be just a little bit safer.
So why am I bringing up this video 4 years later, after it was originally posted. Well, the answer is simple- it hasn’t helped yet. But for this, I have my own solutions:
As well as citizens taking this into their own hands and taking the initiative to step aside in busy places- we need more encouragement in two main forms. Advertising and Public Policy.
Advertising will encourage even the most un-thoughtful of phone users to see the light (not that of their phone screens) as it has done in the past. One example of this is the Save the Children appeal adverts, which account for a large amount of the organisation’s donations.
As for public policy, Police Officers and PCSOs should warn people who are deemed to be obstructing other people by the use of mobile phones. I also think that schools should warn of the dangers that can come of the un-observant behaviour associated with mobile phones, among other contemporary issues which need attention.
We have all used our phones in a busy area at least once without paying thought to others (myself included) which is why we need more authority and policy on this matter.
If we all follow these new social guidelines set down, and put pressure on our leaders (through emails, petitions and more) we can live in a safer world- which is a very good thing.
George looks up from his phone screen, from which he has been ferociously writing this article. He notices a large number of pedestrians moving around him- like gravy encircling a pea.