A new study suggests "distracted walking" is taking a toll on teenagers as the number of pedestrian injuries soars among 16- to 19-year-olds even as it drops among nearly every other age group.
The findings, from Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that pushes to prevent unintentional childhood injuries, found that the number of teens injured in pedestrian accidents rose 25% in the five-year period from 2006 to 2010, compared with 2001-05.
Using recent data on the growing prevalence of teen gadget usage, Safe Kids suggested the rise in teen injuries "is related to distraction, caused by the use of electronics and handheld devices while walking."
"We've got an emerging problem, and the emerging problem is what's going on with our teenagers," said Kate Carr, the group's president.
"We have distracted drivers who may be hitting pedestrians in the street, but we also have distracted pedestrians who are walking in front of cars."
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