Do you text while walking? It can limit awareness, study says

Ann Arbor, MI – Many people admit to texting with limited awareness of their behavior – also known as “automaticity” – according to a study from the University of Michigan.

As part of the study, researchers surveyed 925 college students and adults about their texting behaviors. Respondents provided details about how often they texted while walking down the sidewalk, crossing the street, driving a car and in a car stopped at an intersection.

Researchers found that respondents were most likely to text “without thinking” while they were walking. Respondents also were more likely to engage in automaticity while texting and crossing the street than while driving.

“Perhaps walking is more commonly performed along familiar routes with familiar obstacles, allowing greater texting automaticity to develop,” study co-author Joseph Bayer said in a press release.

The study results could help to explain the psychological processes that are involved with people’s decisions to text while driving or text while walking, researchers said. The study was published in the April edition of Mobile Media & Communication.

Enhanced mindfulness and self-control could improve safety. The National Safety Council has called for a ban on all cell phone use while driving. NSC also advises pedestrians to move out of others’ way and stand still at the side of a walkway if they must send a text.