(Charles LeBlanc/Flickr)

Texting while walking increases risk of getting hit by car: UBC study

Engineers found that distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining walking speed and gait

Distracted drivers are responsible for many collisions in B.C., but a new study is pointing the finger at the risk of distracted walking.

A new study out of UBC on Tuesday suggests people who walk and text at the same time walk more slowly and less steadily, increasing the risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

Engineers used automated video analysis to examine the movements and walking behaviour of pedestrians at a busy four-way intersection in Kamloops. Through three mounted cameras, they analyzed 357 pedestrians over two days.

“We found that more than a third of pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones – texting and reading or talking and listening,” said lead author Rushdi Alsaleh.

“Distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining their walking speed and gait and took longer to cross the road, increasing the potential for conflict with vehicles.”

The movements of the distracted pedestrians also differed, depending on how they were using their devices.

Those who were texting or reading took shorter steps without slowing their step frequency, while those who were talking on their phone took slower steps without changing the length of their strides.

The results can also help keep pedestrians safe when it comes to driverless cars, Alsaleh said.

An autonomous vehicle can be programmed to recognize distracted pedestrians from their walking patterns, he said, and appropriate evasive actions to avoid an accident.

“Our research is focused on explaining how accidents occur on roads by better modelling the behaviour of people and cars on the road,” said Tarek Sayed, a civil engineering professor at UBC.

“We hope that our methods can be used to calibrate pedestrian simulation programs more accurately, helping planners to build safer roads and engineers to design smarter autonomous vehicles.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Meet the Ladysmith ambassador candidates

Seven enrolled in this year’s leadership program

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash in Ladysmith

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup truck Friday

Ladysmith reservoirs full despite winter drought

Both reservoirs at or above capacity

Rickter Scale: Goodbye in the blink of an eye

Funny the impact a text can have — in more ways than one

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read