PROBLEM: Smartphones are the root of all societal ills, borne directly of Satan. Last spring, Michigan resident Bonnie Miller was texting when she walked heedlessly off of a pier and into Lake Michigan. Many cities have lately implemented distracted walking campaigns to promote pedestrians' awareness of their surroundings. In Philadelphia, crosswalks read "Look Up."
METHODOLOGY: Researchers at University of Washington's Injury Prevention Center secretly watched 1102 people crossing the street at "20 high-risk intersections during ... randomly assigned time windows," recording what they observed. As I imagine it, they did so from unmarked van.
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RESULTS: 29.8 percent (nearly one third) of all pedestrians "performed a distracting activity while crossing." That further broke down to 6.2 percent talking on the phone, 11.2 percent listening to music (how did the researchers know it was music?) and 7.3 percent texting (how did they know they weren't playing a game or looking at Instagram or just wistfully rereading old texts from lovers past?). In any case, it's a lot of distracted people at busy intersections.