ATLANTA -- We've all seen them. Perhaps we've even been one. We're talking about distracted walkers.
"Today I was checking my facebook, listening to my favorite song and I almost got smashed.I was like I gotta go, and it had already switched. And cars were coming," said April Lemon about her near miss Monday morning.
The Consumer Protection Safety Commission studiespatient data from 100 emergency rooms across the country. It says last year at least 1,150 people were treated in ER's for injuries suffered while paying more attention to an electronic device than where they were walking. Its a number that has quadrupled in the past seven years.
It's not just one age group putting themselves at risk. The data lists a 12-year old boyclipped by a truck while playing a video game, a 28 year old man who fell in a ditch while talking on the phone, and a 53 year old woman fell off a curb whiletexting.
11Alive Newsfound plenty of people in Atlanta willing to confess to their own near misses.
"I'm texting my friends, facebook, anything of that nature, I'm walking and checking emails. The entire walk here I was on my phone. I don't even remember most of the walk," admitted Kevin Swinton.
The Governors Highway Safety Association says overall traffic fatalities are down but fatal pedestrian accidents are up. There's limited data collected at accident scenes to determine what role electronic devices might have played if any, but safety advocates believe incidents are underreported.
"People get so absorbed in what they're doing with these devices that, and also so confident they can do both of these things at the same time that there ends up being these dangerous things that happen," said Dr. Robert Rosenberger, an associate professor at Georgia Tech.
Rosenbergerstudies theexperiences we have with technology and how it impacts our ability to do other things such as drive or walk. He plays off the expression, if you can't chew gum and walk at the same time, what makes you think you can text and walk?
"You're doing something actually much more cognitively demanding. It takes us more of your brain power than chewing gum," said Rosenberger.
While most distractions just end up an embarassing moment, with pedestrian accidents on the rise safety advocates say its time to think beyond distracted driving and start thinking about the distractions on the sidewalk, too.