Many pedestrians distracted by phones, other electronic devices: study

Wayne, NJ – Many pedestrians are distracted by electronic devices while crossing streets, according to a recent study from William Paterson University.

Researchers studied more than 21,000 pedestrians at five busy Manhattan, NY, intersections during 10 cycles of signal changes. They found that nearly half of pedestrians who disobeyed a crossing signal and almost one-third of pedestrians who crossed the street during the “don’t walk” signal were using an electronic device such as headphones or cell phones. The most common distraction was headphone use, which can block audible warnings, a university press release states.

“It came as a surprise that there were so many pedestrians distracted by technology during the walk signal, but the fact that there were even more distracted by technology crossing on a ‘don’t walk’ signal is astonishing,” Dr. Corey Basch, lead study author and William Paterson University associate professor of public health, said in the press release.

The study was published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Community Health.