Text with care: Research shows a rise in mobile phone-related accidents

It’s official: technology is dangerous. According to new research, we’re all fumbling, bumbling, and stumbling our way around, so distracted by texting or tweeting that we hurt ourselves and our mobiles.

A cross-Europe survey from mobile insurance company SquareTrade found that in the last couple of years, 37.2% of smartphone users in the UK have damaged their phones by tripping, stumbling or just plain falling over because they were so distracted. (Pockets, people! They exist for a reason.) The good news is, we’re not the worst in Europe: 38.9% of Spanish smartphone users, 39.8% of Italian, and 40% of Greek users had slipped. (Polish people were the most careful, at 24.3% – but that’s still a significant minority.)

Even worse, a separate poll found that 86% of UK smartphone owners had slammed into something (including the ground) while using their mobile. Stumbling on loose paving or not realising there was a door or window in front of them were common incidents. Meanwhile, newsreader Laura Safe was so distracted while texting her boyfriend last year that she walked into a Birmingham canal.

British GP Dr Louise Newson says she’s seen a rise in mobile phone-related accidents in the last year, included grazed knees and bumps to the head. ‘I’ve seen a lot of mobile-related injuries in my surgery in the last 12 months, mostly from people tripping or bumping into something because they’ve been distracted by their smartphone,’ she says. She’s also concerned that the increasing use of mobiles by children and older people, who tend to find coordination more challenging, could lead to more accidents in future.

So it seems like the safest thing for all of us to do is to stop to text and put our phones away while we’re walking. Failing that, it might be a pain to actually have to speak to people, but not as big a pain as hitting your head on the pavement would be. Probably.

Image via Antoine K’s Flickr.

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