This week it was learned that one of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s advisors discovered the hard way that mobile technology can sometimes be a safety hazard.
Valerie Jarrett, an aide to the Illinois Senator, fell off a Chicago curb several while “her thumbs were flying on her Blackberry.”
The incident, (while kind of funny since she wasn’t hurt) got me thinking and researching about the frequency of people having accidents due to mobile distractions (but not of the phone call variety).
As it turns out, the Obama aide is not alone. In an alert issued this week, the American College of Emergency Physicians warns of the danger of more serious accidents involving “oblivious texters.” The ER doctors surveyed cite rising reports from other physicians around the country of injuries involving text-messaging pedestrians, bicyclists, Rollerbladers, and (naturally) motorists.
Fortunately, most incidents involve scrapes, cuts and sprains from texters who walked into lampposts or walls or tripped over curbs. Regrettably, though, the ER doctors who participated also reported two deaths. A San Francisco woman was killed by a pickup truck a few months ago when she stepped off a curb while texting. Similarly, a southern California man was killed last year by a car while crossing the street and texting.
Of course, these accidents and others can’t be blamed on mobile technology alone. Ultimately, we bear the responsibility to watch where we’re going and what we’re doing while trying to simultaneously read text and download mobile content.
If anything, though, this story serves as a much needed reminder to be watchful and considerate while using mobile devices or services when multitasking – both for your safety and the safety of others.